Northern Ireland Peace Process 'being used and manipulated' by Boris Johnson, caller says

12 September 2020, 12:42 | Updated: 12 September 2020, 12:45

By Seán Hickey

This caller grew up on the Irish border and fears a return to the troubles of the 1970s if Boris Johnson uses Northern Ireland as a pawn in Brexit negotiations.

Brent phoned in from Derby to tell Matt Frei that "Boris Johnson has more than overplayed" the UK's position in Northern Ireland in Brexit negotiations.

The caller accused the PM of "playing with fire when they're playing with the peace process. There's a bigger issue about identity, there's a bigger issue about the psychology of what the border is"

"I voted for peace, not war," Brent said, insisting that the government is currently risking a return to violence.

"I grew up in the heyday of the troubles, and I don't want to go back to that." The caller believes that the people of Northern Ireland are "being used and manipulated and dragged into this internal British politics, and it's not fair."

When asked whether he could see the troubles returning if the government's Brexit plan impacts the position of Northern Ireland, Brent pointed out that "extremism thrives on people who think they have nothing to lose."

The caller argued the PM doesn't understand the Good Friday Agreement
The caller argued the PM doesn't understand the Good Friday Agreement. Picture: PA

"There is a risk, there's always a risk." The caller believed that altering the position of Northern Ireland would absolutely run the risk of a return to violence.

"Boris Johnson is playing with fire," the caller reiterated, adding that he doesn't think "the vast majority of British people understand the depth of feeling that there is in the border area."

Matt Frei noted that the PM has said he plans to alter the withdrawal agreement to "protect the Good Friday Agreement" and asked for the view of the caller.

"They don't understand the Good Friday Agreement" he insisted.

"Boris Johnson is a kid with matches and petrol and he's about to do something very, very silly."