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What General Election Issues Face Northern Ireland?

In Northern Ireland, several of the main parties have now issued their general election manifestos, and for the province the main issue is...

In Northern Ireland, several of the main parties have now issued their general election manifestos, and for the province the main issue is its future after Brexit.

Unlike the UK as a whole, the people of Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU and now have perhaps the most at stake in Brexit.

"Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK that has a land border with the remainder of the EU," says Stewart Dickson, of the Alliance Party.

"It would be extremely difficult for us if we do not get a special deal for Northern Ireland - the ability to trade freely in the European market and the ability to cross that border with minimal interference."

While the rest of the UK talks about hard and soft Brexit, the talk here is about hard and soft borders.

But when the Republic is inside the EU, and Britain is outside, the chances are they will have different rules for movement of goods and people.

Pat Catney, of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), says he would be in favour of an Irish independence referendum:

"We want... All of the trappings that's there within that single market".

Sinn Fein are also calling for a new independence referendum.

Northern Ireland's identity crisis risks re-opening old wounds that are marked all over the province.

At the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)'s manifesto launch, leader Arlene Foster said: 

"By far the most important issue at this election is not devolution, but the union itself."

The DUP's defence spokesperson, Gavin Robinson, denied his party is scared of a referendum. He said they had confounded "a lot of the myths and fear tactics" surrounding independence: 

"Northern Ireland is an integral part of the UK and that's not going to change."

Steve Aiken, former Royal Navy submarine commander and Ulster Unionist's Chief Whip in the Northern Ireland assembly, said: 

"We don't want to see any hard borders between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, but we don't want to see any hard borders across these islands."

Watch the video below to hear what are the key defence points for every party:

Sinn Fein did not respond to our requests for an interview, and its manifesto does not address defence.

It lists "the full implementation of the Good Friday and subsequent agreements" as one of its priorities, and states "we have witnessed both the Tory party and the DUP setting aside the agreements on legacy and seeking impunity for members of the British Army and their agents."

Sinn Fein, the Alliance Party, the Democratic Unionist Party, SDLP, Ulster Unionist Party Manifesto and Northern Ireland Conservative & Unionist Party all have manifestos available online.

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