Bonnie Weir is a lecturer in political science and a research associate at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University. She is currently completing projects on political violence and post-conflict politics in Northern Ireland, as well as on sectarianism and minority rights. (April 2019)
Although there is little grassroots support for a wholesale return to armed struggle, Brexit does carry the risk of violence. Any form of Brexit that implies the need for new infrastructure at the border sets the stage for an escalation: customs checkpoints would be easy targets, and if attacked, they would need an armed police presence, creating both additional targets and a sense of regression to the days when Northern Ireland was an “open-air prison.” In turn, violence could creep into urban areas that are close to the border—like Derry.