As part of her first official visit to Belfast, newly appointed Prime Minister, Theresa May, has insisted that the UK does not want border controls in Northern Ireland.
Following the 23rd June Brexit vote, the prospect of border controls have been a major point of discussion, particularly for smaller UK nations like Northern Ireland.
Mrs May met Stormont’s First and Deputy First ministers, also spending time at Stormont Castle.
Britain’s decision to leave the European Union could still profoundly affect on Northern Ireland, primarily because of the country’s long history of sectarian war, and its long land border with the Republic of Ireland, which is a part of the EU.
Mrs May said that “we had a common travel area between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland many years before either country was a member of the European Union,” before adding, “nobody wants to return to the borders of the past.”
Despite the PM’s call for national unity, in the EU referendum 56% percent of voters in Northern Ireland wished for the UK to remain within the union, as opposed to the 52% majority wishing to brexit in the rest of the country.
Prime Minister May said that she is “very clear that the government will deliver on the Stormont House Agreement and the Fresh Start Agreement.”
“We’ve had very constructive talks – positive talks – this morning with the First Minister and the deputy First Minister” Mrs May explained, noting that “Brexit means Brexit but we will be making a success of it.”
“I recognise the particular circumstances in Northern Ireland because of course it has a land border with a country that will be remaining in the EU” but, she added “what we do want to do is to find a way through this that is going to work and deliver a practical solution for everybody, as part of the work we’re doing to ensure that we make a success of the UK leaving the EU and that we come out of this with a deal in the interest of the whole of the UK.”