John Kerry warns Brexit hard border could ‘”reignite Troubles.”

Posted By: December 03, 2018

Paul Ainsworth. Irish News. Belfast. Monday, December 3, 2018

FORMER US Presidential candidate John Kerry has warned that a hard border in Ireland as a result of Brexit could “reignite the Troubles.”

The Democratic former US Secretary of State spoke out at an event at Yale University in Connecticut to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and said it was “imperative” that Brexit occurs in a way that does not renew conflict in the north.

The event was attended by members of Stormont’s five main political parties, who Mr. Kerry said he had a “candid discussion” with regarding the future of NI post-Brexit.

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme at the event, Mr. Kerry described the years since the Good Friday Agreement as being “characterized by a border which people have been able to cross easily.”

Referring to fears that a no-deal Brexit could lead to a hard border being put in place, Mr. Kerry said: “If you have a certain kind of Brexit with a hard border you could see great difficulties emerge as a consequence of that. I have concerns that depending on what kind of Brexit takes place it could have a negative impact on the progress made in the last 20 years.

“It could re-heat passions one way or the other or both depending on what it is. We have to see how this is going to be resolved. It’s imperative that it’s resolved in a way that it does not reignite the Troubles.”

Mr. Kerry, who narrowly lost the 2004 US Presidential election to George W Bush when he claimed just over 48 percent of the vote, also said President Trump’s administration should consider the possibility of sending an envoy to Northern Ireland to assist in re-establishing an Executive at Stormont. However, he insisted he had not been approached to chair future Stormont talks, saying the idea was “not on the radar screen right now.”