Cattle and tourism pioneer Peter Severin has died aged 93, at the remote station and famous roadhouse near Uluru he established more than six decades ago.
Mr Severin and family have run Curtin Springs Station and roadhouse near Uluru since 1956
The family said they were mourning the loss of a true gentlemen, loving husband and proud father
The hospitality peak body says Mr Severin was a true pioneer of Central Australia
Mr Severin’s family announced his death on Saturday morning in a statement they said was made “with profound sadness”.
“He was a true gentleman, devoted son, loving husband and proud father,” the statement said.
“Pete passed away peacefully in his 94th year, surrounded by those he loved, and those that loved him, at Curtin Springs Station, his home for over 65 years.”
In a social media post, Hospitality NT described the long-serving publican as a “true Territory pioneer and pioneer of Central Australia”.
The Severin roadhouse, built on the working cattle station first leased by the family in 1956, was among the isolated area’s first tourism spots opened outside Alice Springs.
From early beginnings selling petrol and scones to a growing stream of visitors, Mr Severin and his wife Dawn are credited with opening the region up to domestic and international tourism.
In 1963, Mr Severin installed the controversial chain rope on Uluru, which tourists used to climb the rock until it was closed in 2019 in accordance with the wishes of traditional owners and custodians.
He was awarded the Northern Territory Tourism Minister’s Perpetual Trophy in 2017, in recognition of his contributions to the industry.
The family said they would be sharing highlights of Mr Severin’s life and holding a service in Alice Springs after taking time to mourn his death privately.
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The City of Greater Geelong is
actively pursuing two federal government funding opportunities to contribute to
construction of the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub.
At last night’s meeting, Council
agreed to put forward the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub for Round 5 of the
Building Better Regions Fund, which offers funding of up to $10 million.
Council will also seek to assign
the Federal Government’s $8.3 million Local Roads & Community
Infrastructure Fund (LRCIF) phase 2 allocation to the Northern Aquatic and
The City will request an
extension to the June 2022 completion date currently required by projects
funded through the LRCIF program, an option that is provided for in the program
Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie
Asher said the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub was Council’s priority
community infrastructure project.
We are seizing the opportunity
to seek financial support for the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub through
current federal funding schemes.
Construction of the hub will be
transformative for Greater Geelong. This is critical infrastructure that will
provide life-changing preventative health support for communities in the
The Northern Aquatic and
Community Hub is a $61.6 million major community infrastructure project that
will provide health, fitness, community and civic facilities for Geelong’s
northern suburbs as well as serve a rapidly growing population.
Recent studies have found that
the rates of sedentary lifestyles, poor health and high or very high distress
in the northern suburbs are double the average rates found in Greater Geelong.
In August 2020, Corio/Norlane
was listed as the second highest location in the state for JobSeeker
recipients, numbering 3,071.
Residents in these areas are
likely to be particularly hard hit by economic hardship as a result of the
recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the resulting impacts on
physical and mental health.
All of these factors signal a
greater need for better community services and accessible public health
facilities, particularly preventative health, which would be delivered through
the Northern Aquatic & Community Hub.
It’s also estimated construction
will inject $67 million into the local economy and support 111 local jobs.
Council has committed $20.6
million to this priority project and is seeking the remaining $41 million
required through state and federal government funding.
Windermere Ward Councillor
Anthony Aitken said the Northern Aquatic and Community Hub was vital for the
northern suburbs, which has been earmarked for major population growth in
The project will provide a
major economic boost for the region during construction and once complete it
will directly address some significant health and wellbeing challenges faced in
Not only will it provide
essential services for our growing northern suburbs community, the unparalleled
quality and design of the hub will draw visitors from all around the region.
The business case is robust,
the need is clear, and we are jumping on these federal funding opportunities to
get this project started.
The City will also continue to
work with the state government to ensure all levels of government are on board
with delivering this important community infrastructure project for Greater
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When most people think of electrolytes, it usually involves brightly-colored and artificially-flavored sports drinks that supposedly aid us in the gym. Problem is, a lot of those are overflowing with more added sugars and empty calories than electrolytes.
Northern Chill Alkaline Mineral Spring Water is naturally made with minerals and electrolytes, which helps give you an added performance boost during every workout—without any added sugar.
But what are electrolytes, and why are they so important? Electrolytes serve different functions in the body, including helping maintain nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and fluid balance running smoothly.
And while there are other lesser-known ways to consume your electrolytes, including yogurt, pickles, and even a pretzel, the best way to get your daily fill of electrolytes is in alkaline water.
Northern Chill, sourced from a glacier created aquifer in Polar, WI, is a naturally-alkaline mineral spring water that undergoes zero processing, meaning the natural levels of minerals and electrolytes are preserved in each bottle, giving you the best performance boost for your buck.
What does that mean? With no calories or added sugar, you can get all the minerals and electrolytes you need for that heavy-duty squat session, 10-mile run or 10 rounds in the ring from a bottle of Northern Chill.
Here is a list of some of the minerals and electrolyte that can help you reach top performance, all of which can be found in a bottle of Northern Chill.
Bicarbonate: This mineral helps regulate the pH level in the body, helps your digestive system function properly, and protects against acid reflux and heartburn. For athletes, bicarbonate has been shown to help reduce muscle fatigue, helping you squeeze out a few more reps, or miles, each workout.
Calcium: As well as being a key mineral for overall teeth and bone health, calcium has been shown to help circulate blood, move muscles, and release hormones. It’s an extremely vital mineral for athletes, particularly female athletes, as heavy training can cause a drop in hormone levels.
Magnesium: Along with helping regulate muscle and nerve functions as well as blood pressure, magnesium also is essential in helping produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s main source of energy. Magnesium also helps with calcium absorption.
Sodium: Since athletes lose this mineral through sweating, sodium is arguably the body’s most important mineral. It also helps balance the water levels in and around your cells and maintain blood pressure levels. Cramping up during a workout? Chances are you’re in need of sodium replenishment as sodium is known to help reduce muscle cramping.
Chloride: This electrolyte is essential for helping maintain hydration among athletes. It complements both sodium and potassium in helping balance acids in the body as well as moving fluids in and out of cells.
Potassium: The third-most-prevalent mineral in the human body, potassium helps kidney and heart function including the prevention of kidney stones. It also helps regulate nerve transmission, muscle contraction, and helps maintain blood pressure.
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Aged care sector delays and supply chain “teething problems” have set back the first week of the coronavirus vaccine rollout in the Northern Territory.
Expected shipment of vaccines never arrived
581 people vaccinated in the NT so far
Delays in delivering doses to aged care sector
NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles told ABC Radio Darwin this morning that an expected shipment of COVID-19 vaccines did not arrive yesterday, so the Northern Territory ran out of doses earlier than expected.
“We were expecting a small supply that didn’t come through so we’ve raised that with the Commonwealth government about that supply issue,” she said.
Ms Fyles said she did not know why the expected vaccine shipment had not arrived but that there had been several “teething problems” around Australia during the first week of vaccinations.
“The officials are looking into it but we are expecting 400 more doses today.
“We will continue vaccinations this evening and tomorrow.”
Ms Fyles said 581 coronavirus vaccines had been delivered to Territorians as of close of business yesterday.
The NT Government initially projected that 800 NT Health staff would be vaccinated in the first week.
Delays have also been seen in the rollout of the vaccine in the aged care sector, a program managed by the federal government.
Northern Territory Professional Health Network chief executive Gill Yearsley said the delays were due to the “logistically challenging and complex” nature of the delivery plan.
“In the Northern Territory we have experienced some delays in the rollout this week which means some residents have not received their vaccines when initially planned,” he said.
“The delays are being managed and contingencies put in place to ensure residents do receive their vaccinations in the next few days.”
Despite the missing doses and supply chain issues, Ms Fyles said the vaccination program in the Territory was working well.
“To get over 500 people vaccinated in the first four days and to not be lagging behind the rest of Australia, our health professionals have done a great job,” she said.
Ms Fyles said the territory and federal governments were working on getting the appropriate freezers to the territory, which would allow the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine to be stored locally and remedy some of the supply issues.
“They are still some weeks away. I hope we’ll see them by the end of March or early April,” she said.
Ms Fyles said the NT government was hoping to have all Territorians vaccinated by the end of October.
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The Gunner Labor government has come under sustained scrutiny as questions over its standards of transparency and staff behaviour have consumed another day of NT Parliament.
A CLP politician has accused an unnamed government staffer of threatening behaviour
The staffer has apologised, but the government declined to refer the matter for investigation
It follows a week of intense criticism over the Gunner government’s handling of various issues
Over the past week, the Member for Blain, Mark Turner, was expelled from the Labor caucus after Michael Gunner told Parliament he failed to be upfront over his intimate relationship with a “private citizen”.
A Labor staff member also resigned over the issue and, while that person was named in Parliament today, the ABC is for legal reasons unable to name him at this time.
In a separate matter, the CLP member for the Alice Springs seat of Braitling, Josh Burgoyne, today accused an unnamed ministerial staffer of using “threatening, abusive and harassing words” during a run-in outside Parliament last Thursday night.
Attorney-General Selena Uibo, in whose office the person works, told Parliament the staff member had received a formal warning over the incident.
She then read a written apology from the staff member largely confirming Mr Burgoyne’s account.
“I was unnecessarily provocative in what I said in reference to the Member for Braitling, in a way which he could hear,” the statement read.
“I assert to the house that I did not use swear words, but the Member for Braitling believes I did and has been insulted by the content of my comments.
Leader of Government Business, Natasha Fyles, rejected a bid by the CLP to refer the matter to a parliamentary investigation committee, saying it wasn’t within the committee’s jurisdiction.
That prompted an attack from Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro.
“The fact that they are not going to accept this referral to the Privileges Committee has got to be one of the all-time lows when it comes to scrutiny, transparency, upholding the integrity of the Parliament and doing what is right,” Ms Finocchiaro said.
She was joined in her critique by Independent MLA Robyn Lambley, who urged her parliamentary colleagues to “lift the standard of behaviour and integrity, not lower the bar like we’ve seen this afternoon”.
‘Kids play with memes, we make decisions’
Mr Gunner’s handling of the issues plaguing his party has seen him come under pressure from members of Territory Labor’s youth wing.
In a letter posted to Facebook, the president of NT Young Labor condemned the Chief Minister’s push to have Mr Turner’s party membership revoked.
“I write today to express some concerns held by NTYL members from the Palmerston branch,” the group’s president, Lithira Abeysinghe, wrote in the post, which was later deleted.
“We make a plea for the president of the party as well as the general membership to not revoke the party membership of Mark Turner MLA.”
Mr Abeysinghe praised Mr Turner for being responsible for the involvement of several young activists in the party.
In his letter, Mr Abeysinghe suggested the Chief Minister lacked a spine.
“I also write to you in the hopes you will assist us in our search for our parliamentary leader’s vertebrate (sic).”
The Chief Minister later told Parliament: “With respect to Young Labor, while the kids play with the memes, we have to make decisions and we have made those decisions and we stand by those decisions.”
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Two games into their formal football history, the Tiwi Bombers women’s team is already displaying the dazzling skill, speed and talent the island communities are renowned for.
The Tiwi women’s team is playing six exhibition matches before the end of the 2020/21 season
The Tiwi captain says she is hopeful the team will be permitted into the NTFL for the start of next season
AFL Northern Territory has not yet committed to granting the Tiwi women’s team a licence for season 2021/22
The team has won both their games, which are part of a six-match “exhibition” series that could be a precursor to the club’s entering the Northern Territory Football League.
Thrown into the fray in the middle of the league season, the Tiwi women immediately proved too good for the competition placed in front of them by the league’s administrators, AFLNT, defeating the division two side Nightcliff 46-6 on February 5.
Their next match was harder, but still Tiwi comprehensively outplayed division two’s runaway top-of-the-ladder side Pint, winning by a comfortable 23 points.
The Tiwi side is made up of women from the Tiwi Island communities of Wurrumiyanga, Parliangimpi and Milikapiti, many of whom have never played football in the Northern Territory Football League.
Football, as the saying goes, is like a religion on the Tiwi Islands, which has a mostly Indigenous population of fewer than 2,500 people.
The islands represent arguably the most fertile ground for Australian Football League talent in the country, having produced a raft of stars including Maurice Rioli, Cyril Rioli, Dean Rioli, Daniel Rioli, Michael Long, Malcolm Lynch, Austin Wonaeamirri and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti.
Following their encouraging victories, Tiwi captain Laelia Dunn said the players were filled with pride, having demonstrated they belonged in top-flight Territory football.
“It was a good experience. There was a lot of stuff really going through most of the girls’ heads. The main one would be pride — just proud to have the first women’s team in the competition,” she said.
The Tiwi women’s push for an official team licence in the Northern Territory Football League comes 15 years after the Tiwi men first joined the league in 2006 as the Tiwi Bombers.
Dunn, who plays at centre half-forward, said the time was right for the women of Tiwi to have a league team to call their own.
“Behind the scenes, preparing, it has been a long time coming,” she said.
“Due to funding and other stuff, it took a while for us to get the team together.
“For me, I feel like it’s the perfect time for us to get this women’s team finally going.
“The women here, they are all pretty flexible and keen.
“I think everyone just wants to play footy and they are just happy that they finally get that chance.
“We want to just show our skills and our talents for not only the Tiwi people but the Tiwi women.”
That enthusiasm extends to the wider Tiwi community and across the Northern Territory as well, Dunne said.
“We’ve been getting heaps of messages and calls and everyone wanting to be involved and a part of it and volunteer their time to come and support the girls,” she said.
“And the communities are very proud that we have finally got a women’s team playing.”
Although the push for a women’s football team comes more than a decade after one for the men, Dunne says Tiwi women’s passion for football is nothing new.
“Everyone that lives on the islands pretty much grows up with a football in their hand,” she said. “The men and the women are no different.
“It’s been like that on the islands as long as I can remember.”
Dunn said the way the Tiwi women played was similar to the distinctive style of the men, who had long captivated crowds and tormented opponents with their fast-paced ball movement and superior skill.
It bodes well for footy fans and has already put some league teams on notice.
“We’re just keen to give everyone a shock, I guess,” Dunne said.
A spot in the Northern Territory Football League for next season is not yet, however, assured.
Dunne said the team and community were hoping the Tiwi women would be granted a licence as soon as next season, 2021/22, which would begin in October.
“The aim is to try and get these exhibition games done, win as many games as we can, and put forward [a case] for a licence so we can get a full season in the [competition],” she said.
The decision to admit the Tiwi women into the Northern Territory Football League will be up to AFLNT, which has not yet outlined any timeline for a potential league berth for Tiwi.
“I’m not sure if we’re going to get in, but I’d say we’ve got a fair chance,” Dunn said.
If the league’s administration decides to grant the Tiwi women a team licence, the Bombers will play either in division two or in the league’s top level, the NTFL Premier League.
Dunn said with the team already having proven a force to be reckoned with, she hoped the Bombers would have earned their place at the top level in the eyes of AFLNT.
“I think with the two games we have played we have done a pretty good job to convince them to try and get us into the Premier League,” she said.
“That will be something special for the whole of Tiwi Islands.”
AFL Northern Territory was contacted for comment.
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For 26 years, Benni Vincent has captured her underwater diving expeditions on camera.
The northern Pacific seastar was first detected in Tasmanian waters in 1986
By the time removal efforts began, the species was well established in the Derwent River
The volunteer divers are hoping a regular effort over three to five years could help control it
But while she loves snapping the different creatures she encounters, there is one species that has become an all too familiar sight.
“The starfish are just loaded. Stacked on and stacked on,” she said.
The animal she is referring to is known as the northern Pacific seastar, an invasive predator that made its home in Hobart’s River Derwent more than three decades ago.
Since its first detection in 1986, thousands of dollars and hours have been poured into efforts to remove them, but despite the decades long war, the seastar has come out the winner, thriving in the murky depths of the Derwent.
“In the areas where there’s a lot of them, there’s not a great deal of life … they’ve just outcompeted everything nearby,” Ms Vincent said.
Undeterred by past failures, Ms Vincent is leading a group of volunteer divers in a new charge to reduce the impact of the predatory seastar.
“If we just did it for a few months and stopped it would do nothing, even a year would do nothing.”
Ms Vincent is hoping to organise two to three dives a month over the course of about three to five years.
“We’re concentrating on areas where they’re in really high densities such as under jetties and places inshore where there’s a lot of human activity,” she said.
“If we can reduce the numbers of the starfish in those areas, when they come to breed the next time their breeding success just won’t be so high.”
Ms Vincent said they will also be focusing on areas where the endangered handfish live because the seastars are known to eat the substrate they breed on.
Hope in new technology and science
The volunteers know any efforts to remove the seastar will be an uphill battle.
The number of seastars in the Derwent is estimated to be in the millions and not only do they breed quickly, they have no natural predator in Australian waters.
Neville Barrett, a marine biologist at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, said seastar was believed to have arrived in Hobart’s port via ballast waters.
He said for the first decade it spread quite slowly.
“It was quite a large conspicuous urchin, but it looked a bit like one of our natives so everyone thought it was just that native species,” he said.
“After that period, we realised of course it was the northern Pacific seastar. By that stage it had invaded quite a lot of the Derwent Estuary.
“In the last 30 years, it’s really spread throughout a lot of Tasmanian waters.”
The seastar is found right up the east coast of Tasmania and down to the D’Entrecasteaux Channel, but Dr Barrett said by far the worst area was the mid section of the Derwent.
“Around the ports is really highly disturbed after hundreds of years of heavy industrial pollution as well as land run off.
“It creates a really beautiful muddy, food rich environment for this particular species,” he said.
And that is bad news for the spotted handfish.
“The seastars eat the ascidian that the handfish actually need to lay their eggs … without that they struggle to find a place to lay their eggs so they might lay it on seaweed that then washes off when some waves come,” he said.
He said dives, particularly ones that focussed on core conservation areas, could have an impact, but the area they now cover was too vast to achieve eradication.
“[Dives] can have a local impact. It might last a year or so in that area [but] that kind of thing needs to be really sustained and ongoing,” he said.
And while he describes the removal as a “losing battle” he is hopeful for the future, referencing the introduction of diseases or sterile seastars.
“We’ve had a bit of a go in the past and it hasn’t worked, but technology and things are evolving and our understanding is evolving so eventually I’m really hoping it’s something we can tackle,” he said.
Ms Vincent too remains hopeful that her efforts will make an impact.
“If we get in and continue to get in and take them out at a constant rate at areas where they’re really high density then I’m sure we can make a difference,” she said.
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IN THE EARLY 1990s Tennent, a Scottish brewer, ran a television advert designed to play on the homesickness of migrant workers in London. A Scottish office drone, yearning for the pubs of his homeland, endures crowded Tube trains, argumentative Cockneys and foreigners as the song “Caledonia” plays in the background.
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Many young Scots at the time emigrated to the rest of the United Kingdom in search of work or excitement. “I was desperate to travel to London,” remembers Melanie Hill, who graduated from Strathclyde University in 1993 and now works for ScottishPower, an energy company. In 1987, the peak year of emigration, 65,000 people—one in every 78 Scots—left for England, Northern Ireland or Wales. But the flow has slowed, as have the other streams that carry people between the four nations.
Unlike America, Britain has not experienced an overall decline in internal migration. Before covid-19 struck, movement between most of the UK’s 12 regions (nine of which are English) was growing, as the economy and the housing market recovered from the financial crisis. Two exceptions stick out, however. Northern Ireland and Scotland, which anyway send the smallest proportions of their residents to other parts of Britain, are holding onto even more of them (see chart). In 2018-19 Scotland lost just one in 146 people.
Patterns of study have a lot to do with this. In the 1994-95 academic year 6.2% of Scots studying full-time for a first degree attended English universities, and 2.8% of English students were in Scotland. In 2019-20 the proportions had fallen to 4.4% and 1.6%. The proportion of Northern Irish students studying in Scotland has dropped even more sharply, from 14.5% to 8.1%.
Jim Shannon, a Democratic Unionist Party MP, suggests that some Northern Irish people might have been put off by Scotland’s burgeoning independence movement; nobody is hotter for the union than an Ulster Protestant. But the widening gap in tuition fees is probably more important. Northern Irish students pay £4,395 ($6,062) a year to study in their own country, while Scots generally pay nothing if they stay in Scotland. Both are liable for £9,250 a year if they study elsewhere. The demographic effect in Scotland was not an accident: the Scottish National Party cut tuition fees partly in order to discourage students from leaving.
After graduating, Scots have good reasons to hang around. Charlie Ball of Jisc, an education outfit, points out that the cull of civil servants after the financial crisis was milder in Scotland than in England or Wales, so there are more secure jobs. Glasgow, which used to send many people to England, has become a confident, successful city. Linda Murdoch, who runs the University of Glasgow careers service, says it is quite hard to persuade graduates even to go to Edinburgh.
If young Britons are less likely to cross the kingdom’s internal borders to study, they are also less likely to meet people from the other countries, fall in love with them, and have children with them. Since 1997 the proportion of Northern Irish babies born to a mother from England, Scotland or Wales has fallen from 7.3% to 4.8%. There has been a smaller decline in Scotland over the past decade.
Britons are also less likely to take trips to other bits of the kingdom. According to Visit Britain, which organises large surveys, English people accounted for 57% of all British tourist trips to Scotland in 2011, measured by number of nights. Since then Scots have toured their own country more and the English have made fewer trips there; in 2019 English people accounted for 50% of the total. Scotland is just as beautiful as it always was. But people often travel to see friends and attend weddings. If they know fewer people in another country from university or work, they have less reason to go.
If England, Northern Ireland and Scotland are all becoming more insular, Wales has the opposite problem—a brain drain. Dawn Bowden, who represents Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney in the Senedd, says that young people in her constituency who do well at school want to spread their wings. Welsh students pay roughly the same fees everywhere, and get a bigger maintenance grant if they study in London. Over the past few years the number of Welsh teenagers who apply to study in Wales has fallen.
Meanwhile, Ms Bowden says, South Wales has seen an influx of English workers who commute to jobs in Bristol—something that may have increased since 2018, when tolls to cross the Severn river were abolished. She is relaxed about this cross-border traffic. South Wales and the west of England have a long history of migration to and fro, she says. Besides, she also moved to Wales from Bristol.
In one way, the growing insularity of Northern Ireland and Scotland is a good sign. It reflects the success of their major cities, which ought to recover when Britain gets on top of covid-19. But it might hurt them in the end. Scotland in particular is about to experience a nasty demographic crunch: the country has 382,000 25- to 29-year-olds but only 282,000 15- to 19-year-olds. Westminster will not allow Edinburgh to run its own immigration policy. It might have cut itself off from the rest of the United Kingdom just as it would most benefit from a bit of ebb and flow.
The lack of mixing is also a bad omen for the United Kingdom. Many English are already ambivalent about the union—a recent poll for the Sunday Times found less than half would mind if Scotland left, and less than a third would be upset by Irish reunification. The more the nations grow apart, the less they are likely to care. ■
This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “No place like home”
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AT A FANCY Brussels dinner of EU leaders in 2018, Ireland’s then taoiseach used a prop to convey the deadly seriousness attached to the Irish border. Holding up a copy of the Irish Times from 1972, Leo Varadkar pointed to its front page, which recorded how an IRA bomb at a border customs post in Newry killed nine people.
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During the negotiations to deliver a Brexit compatible with what was wanted in London and Brussels, police and many politicians on both sides of the now largely invisible frontier warned that border infrastructure would be a target for dissident IRA factions, because it would symbolise Irish partition. The UK and EU averted that danger by creating a trade border between Great Britain and Northern Ireland instead. But now violent threats to that border are emerging from Ulster loyalists.
On February 1st the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) minister with the politically uncomfortable task of implementing the new internal UK trade frontier withdrew many officials carrying out border checks after graffiti labelled them “targets”. Police said they had no evidence that the intimidation came from loyalist paramilitary groups who retain weapons, but warned that there was growing disquiet among unionists. According to the police, street protests would probably have started already were it not for the pandemic. Graffiti threatening Mr Varadkar have appeared in a loyalist estate in Belfast.
When the Irish Sea border started operating on January 1st, Arlene Foster, the DUP’s leader and Northern Ireland’s first minister, was pragmatically talking up the opportunities of the deal she had opposed. But under pressure from party members, she has backtracked and is now vowing to lead a campaign against the border. Although she is talking tough, she is acting with more restraint than many in her party.
The European Commission has not helped to make this fragile system work. On January 29th, as part of its attempt to rectify the EU’s vaccine shortage, it moved to trigger the emergency mechanism which allows aspects of the deal to be set aside. That decision, which had nothing to do with the local situation—there is far more vaccine in Northern Ireland than across the border—bolstered the unionist contention that the province has been cynically used as a battleground for unrelated disputes between the EU and the UK.
Although the EU rapidly backtracked, the development has heaped pressure on Boris Johnson to act to prevent disruption. On February 3rd his government asked the EU to extend until 2023 a series of “grace periods” in which parts of the border controls would not be enforced, in effect delaying the deal’s implementation in the hope of cooling tempers and finding solutions.
With Brexit having upset the delicate equilibrium of Northern Ireland’s peace, a dangerous message is now being heard and discussed openly by some of those close to paramilitaries. The threat of republican attacks led to the decision that border posts could not be put at the land border; the threat of loyalist attacks led to the withdrawal of staff from the Irish Sea border. Violence, or at least the threat of it, has worked where politics has failed.
In a region with centuries of bloody disputation, that is an exceedingly dangerous message. The pressure on politicians to resolve this problem peacefully is intense.■
For more coverage of matters relating to Brexit, visit our Brexit hub
This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Two dangerous borders”
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A man has been airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after a fire at a whisky distillery in Tasmania’s north.
Multiple fire crews are trying to control the blaze at Adams Distillery at Perth, near Launceston.
The blaze is believed to have started in a barrel-making area at about 10:30am.
Police said it was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived.
The man’s injuries were described as serious but not life-threatening.
Motorists and pedestrians have been asked to avoid the area.
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