HAVING grown up against a background of resounding political rhetoric about the Border, I find it hard not to be sceptical regarding more recent pronouncements on the question at European level, in the context of Brexit.
It is probably fair to say that the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC), since its creation under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, was never regarded with the slightest degree of affection by unionist politicians.
Arnold Joseph Toynbee (1889-1975), one of the most eminent English historians, explained how England used the Bible in its genocidal, racist, and – after the English Reformation – anti-Catholic oppression of Ireland.
Is it possible to reform the petition of concern so it cannot be used on issues like an Irish language act, same-sex marriage and abortion? This is increasingly seen as the acid test of restoring Stormont at all, let alone restoring it sustainably.
Earlier this week I took part in a panel event organised by the Slugger O'Toole website discussing a 'New Ireland' - is it possible, what will it look like, how will nationalists, unionists and others live together ? The debate around the possibility of a border poll has gathered pace of late, not just because of Brexit but also the changing demographics of Northern Ireland.
By this stage of the Brexit process, with just nine months to go before the official date of withdrawal from the EU, there should be firm preparations under way in key areas such as policing and security.