Second, after losing her majority in the 2017 election, May was forced to strike a so-called “confidence and supply” deal with the 10 MPs of the Democratic Unionist Party to govern. The DUP sees a united Ireland as an existential threat to its British Protestant identity. It has become the largest party in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement, although it represents only about 36% of the electorate. 3 This document is divided into three parts. The first part will show that the current soft irish border regime is inseparable from the political and constitutional compromise of 1998 and that it depends on it and excludes any purely commercial and/or technical solution. Any soft or abrupt change in the way border control functions are managed necessarily destabilises the political and institutional balance found in 1998, including, but not limited to, strand 2 of the CGP. Therefore, the difficulty of the enigma around the Irish border after Brexit also lies in the GFA itself. The next two parts focus successively on two major weaknesses of the GFA that explain this difficulty. The second part will show that, although the CFA was a sign of a significant improvement in Anglo-Irish relations, facilitated by the European context, the CFA did not provide a definitive and consensual constitutional definition of the rights and obligations of Dublin and London as co-sovereign guarantor of the CFA. The third part will show that Action 1 of the CGP, the creation of Conjugian institutions in Northern Ireland, has maintained and reinforced sectarian polarisation, making it impossible for a Community consensus on the status of the Irish border issue. Although there has been a 56% majority in Northern Ireland in favour of remaining and even though, in general, unionists and nationalists tend to support the current soft border regime, both communities still maintain non-consenting political and territorial projects. Although consecration democracy brought peace and stability to Northern Ireland, it failed to transform ethno-local identities. The aim of this paper is to show that, in order to find a solution to the Irish border issue arising from Brexit, it is necessary to go beyond the commercial, social and economic threats posed by Brexit in Northern Ireland and in cross-border relations between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The current problem with the Irish border is fundamentally political and constitutional, not economic. But as a political and constitutional issue, the persistence of the Irish border problem is not only a consequence of Brexit. It results in the first place from the incompleteness of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement (GFA). In the two decades since the agreement, no real solution has been found to the Irish border issue, which has been at the heart of the conflict between Irish nationalism and unionism since the creation of Northern Ireland in 1920. .