After Brexit, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would become the only land border between the UK and the European Union. If there were not enough trade agreements between the UK and the EU, it would probably mean controls on the goods that cross it. In March 2019, the UK government announced that it would not carry out customs checks at the Irish border following a Brexit without a deal.  The plan was quickly referred to as a «smugglers` charter» and was criticized for probable violations of WTO rules.         Local businesses have expressed serious concerns.  In the referendum on UK membership in June 2016, Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union at 55.8% against 44.2%. In a November 2018 opinion poll commissioned by BBC Northern Ireland and RT (Republic of Ireland), 61% of respondents felt that Brexit should not take place if the price was a hard border (compared to 36% that it should, 3% do not know).  In an interview with the Guardian, Northern Ireland Police Chief George Hamilton said: «The last thing we want is all the infrastructure around the border because there is something symbolic and it becomes the target of violent dissidents.» Trade unionists feared that the Irish government`s position was a disguised attempt to gain more power over the province to promote a united Ireland a position that the Irish government rejected.  The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) is opposed to a hard Irish border and wants to preserve the common travel area.
 The DUP was the only major NI party to oppose the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.  «You consider the increasing opening of the border over the past two decades — and its economic and social benefits — as an exclusive consequence of the 1998 agreement. 6 This very brief historical sketch of the evolution of cross-border social and commercial flows since 1973 shows that the socio-economic normalization of the Irish border is not only the result of European decisions and influences. Above all, it is a direct result of the evolution of relations between London and Dublin on the issue of Northern Ireland in the wider context of Europe. The Irish border, which has been an intra-European border since 1973, facilitated the idea of unilateral free trade and an open border with Ireland. In October 2016, the Guardian reported that British proposals to avoid a hard border by «transferring the front line of [British] immigration controls to Irish ports and airports had received «signals of support» from some members of the Enda Kenny government.  However, until 2017, a spokesman for the new Irish government of Leo Varadkar said that the reports had been «ill-informed» and that there were «no questions from British officials acting as border guards in Ireland».   That is why she sees in their minds the sign that the peace process is receding and that the 1998 agreement is being cancelled to add what people now take for granted. FactCheckNI has published an article explaining the historical experience of the customs and security border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.