The president of Republican Sinn Fein, Des Dalton, has warned that that border checkpoints following Brexit could become a target for militant republicans amid a surge in interest in republican politics.
Mr Dalton has described Brexit as a “shot in the arm” for Irish republican politics “by making partition relevant to a new generation”.
It is feared that negotiations between British politicians and EU figures on Britain’s withdrawal could collapse in a disordered manner, leading to a quick reinforcement of the border between the two jurisdictions in Ireland.
In comments to the Sunday Times newspaper this week, Mr Dalton warned that “any sort of border checkpoint” would be a provocation.
“I don’t know whether any border checkpoints would be attacked,” he said, “but if you look back at Irish history, that’s always what happens.”
David Jordan, chairman of Saoradh, said Brexit had made the border a serious issue.
“How long will you be able to travel between north and south? I believe Brexit is a threat to the Union. There is almost certainly going to be a second independence referendum in Scotland, which will give rise to the obvious questions about Ireland,” he said.
And ia speech earlier this month, Francie Mackey, the chairman of the 32-County Sovereignty Movement, said the constitutional developments in the face of Brexit afforded an opening for “a new republican narrative”.
He said “the national army must be fully cognisant of the political environment in which it exists”, adding: “At all times it must seek out genuine political alternatives to advance its goal. Armed struggle is an option of last resort. Reckless and undisciplined actions are no option at all.”
Mr Mackey also emphasised that Brexit presented a political opportunity for republicans.
“There is no doubt that 20 years ago we wouldn’t have believed that Britain would do something that would bring the whole issue of Irish sovereignty back to the table. Brexit has done just that,” he said.
“There is clearly going to be some form of border and it’s going to be hard,” he added.