UNISON will spearhead a campaign to protect the Northern Ireland peace agreement as a priority in EU exit negotiations, amidst fears that a hard Brexit will result in the return of a border across the island of Ireland which will damage its fragile but hard won peace.
Scotland’s amendment highlighted the impact on Scotland, Wales and England that the reintroduction of a hard border would have in relation to freedom of movement, trade and solidarity within these islands.
Moving it, convener Lilian Macer said that membership of the EU, the single market and the customs union all converge around the Good Friday agreement to turn a heavily militarised border into one that is barely visible between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
“The open border has had considerable benefits in terms of family life, work, trade and a positive impact on the peace process.
“However the free movement of goods and services is now in jeopardy,” warned Lilian.
“This will not just affect Ireland but will also impact on the rest of the country, with far reaching negative consequences for trade, economy and family life”, added Lilian.
“We don’t want new borders created to stop freedom of movement within these islands, especially since people living in Scotland have many links to Ireland,” she said.
“If no deal is secured on the special status of Northern Ireland then this will have a negative impact for everyone across these islands.”