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Brexit isn’t the cause of the Belfast riots – but it is harming political reconciliation | Matthew O’Toole

Young people who weren’t even born when the Good Friday peace deal was signed are being drawn in to old rivalries

Politicians in Northern Ireland share something with the royal family on certain occasions: a heightened sense of the power of the symbolic act. This gift for symbolism was in evidence on Monday, as Irish republicans joined with unionist members of the Stormont assembly in paying tribute to Prince Philip. This would have been, to use to a phrase that has become hackneyed in the Northern Ireland peace process, unthinkable just a few years ago.

One reason for the breadth of the tributes was the Duke’s role in the royal family’s efforts at acts of British-Irish reconciliation over the past decade: he and the Queen going to the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin; her cúpla focail on the same state visit; shaking hands with Martin McGuinness. All richly symbolic, and all unthinkable just a few years ago.

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