Brexit Tensions in Northern Ireland May Raise ‘Extremist’ Loyalists | Politics | New
Dr Aaron Edwards, author of “UVF: Behind the Mask”, expressed concern that continuing Brexit tensions over the Northern Ireland protocol could forge dangerous new paramilitary factions. Northern Ireland was rocked by a series of violent riots earlier in the year, fueled in part by anger among loyalists over new tariff barriers between Britain and Northern Ireland. Dr Edwards warned that the Protocol’s continued “radicalization” could draw more young people into paramilitarism and trigger the emergence of new violent terrorist groups.
Dr Edwards told Express.co.uk: “The potential for disruption, for fragmentation, is still present within loyalist paramilitary groups.
“I think we are seeing more happening, this is a dangerous development and an open path for the younger loyalists to arrive.
“Younger people who may not have been involved in paramilitary activities but suddenly see that they can get involved by lining their pockets, making money.”
He added: It’s one development that can happen, another could be that loyalist paramilitary groups crumble, call it a day, and there are rumors that they will pull back at some point.
“But what replaces them again is an open question,” the University of Leicester academic continued.
“If we see more radicalization and extremism around the Northern Ireland protocol, we may see new paramilitary groups emerging.
“So I’m not going to say it won’t happen.
“I think there is always a danger that can happen.”
Loyalist activist Jamie Bryson has urged Boris Johnson’s government to “plunge the knife” into the Northern Ireland protocol amid the anger of Northern Irish trade unionists and Brexit supporters across the UK.
Mr Bryson said if the UK government had “drawn its sword and sharpened its blade” in the negotiations with Brussels, it was time for Britain to act unilaterally to end the “constitutional absurdity” of the Brexit protocol.
Bryson told Express.co.uk: “I think the UK government has drawn its sword and sharpened the blade, but sadly it has yet to get it into the heart of the protocol.
“So I mean it’s a good start but it’s almost like a drunk man taking off his coat in a fight in front of a bar, I mean taking one step forward and two steps back screaming someone hold me back!
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“I mean at some point you’re going to have to set it up or shut it down.
“I think we are approaching very close to this period,” he added.
Mr Byrson said: “The government is the one with the responsibility to find a way to solve this problem.
“But the main difficulty they have is that they have accepted this notion that there could not be as much as a CCTV between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, I want say what is it? I mean what other sovereign country in the world would say well due to a terrorist threat, we might not control our own borders. “