Brexit promises significant change for Northern Ireland

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comfortable Westminster majority means the DUP’s ability to thwart his Brexit proposals is diminished.

Some checks on goods moving between the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland are expected to take place to keep the Irish land border with the EU frictionless.

The speed with which that could happen is disputed but the UK is set to leave the bloc at the end of next month.

During the campaign, the Prime Minister attempted to deny that some goods will have to be checked when moving between the rest of the UK and Northern Ireland.

Jeremy Corbyn said he had obtained a confidential report which “drives a coach and horses” through the claim that there will be no border in the Irish Sea under the Brexit plan.

Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “This election result is a vote to end paralysis, not a mandate to force through a deal that would be disruptive to business.

“The business community will be calling on the Prime Minister to provide swift certainty about what Brexit means and time to prepare for and implement it.”

She added: “The Prime Minister’s current deal, which effectively gives Northern Ireland two borders, should be a concern for all of us – not just business leaders and employers.

“Politicians from all parties, and anyone with a vested interest in the Northern Ireland economy, need to recognise the major risks to business growth and job creation, and the serious consequences for young people seeking a career in Northern Ireland.”

Queen’s University Belfast reader in sociology Katy Hayward said the result was partly down to electoral pacts to maximise the anti-Brexit vote rather than reliance on tactical voting.

She said more unionists and nationalists voted for middle-ground parties like the pro-Remain Alliance Party and SDLP.

Demographic change in Northern Ireland’s balance between nationalist and unionist voters was alluded to by DUP leader Arlene Foster.

She said the numbers were against her losing candidates in North and South Belfast.

The results are symbolically significant, as there are now more nationalist and republican MPs from Northern Ireland (nine) than unionists (eight), reversing the 11/seven split from the 2017 election.

Irish senator Mark Daly urged the Irish Government to make preparations for a United Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has rejected the suggestion as inflammatory to unionists.

Mr Daly said: “For many unionists in Northern Ireland, their link to the UK is through Scotland and if Scotland votes for independence, then many will question the future of the Union.

“The Irish government needs to show the people of Northern Ireland, particularly the unionist community, a clear alternative and a vision for the future that is inclusive.”