Editor-at-Large Gail Walker finds out views of five more commentators.
Although I believe the Irish Sea Border poses no economic threat to Northern Ireland, it has dealt an enormous political and psychological blow to unionists by damaging their sense of security as part of the United Kingdom. Too many commentators have tried to play down that psychic shock. They dismissively blame unionists for “ bringing it on themselves” by supporting Brexit and trusting Boris Johnson. There is some truth in this charge, but it leaves out far too much context. Simon Coveney, who took over the Northern Ireland portfolio equipped with a megaphone, has typically told unionists to “own it” – as if the Republic’s rigid position on the backstop played no part in forcing Johnson into a political corner – from which he predictably extricated himself by sacrificing what unionists see as a core principle. Accordingly, it’s critical for political parties in the Republic to show the same sensitivity as Taoiseach Micheal Martin who, while urging unionists to work the Protocol, has always acknowledged the deep sense of hurt involved. Like other shrewd observers, he sees unionist anger is not abating and that all politicians, whether in the UK, NI, ROI or the EU, should be aware of a highly and volatile situation, which thankfully has so far been contained by a responsible unionist and loyalist reaction.
What should unionists do? Everything they can legally do to express their anger at a crude betrayal. It is better to vent these feelings openly and democratically than to let them fester. Although I am pessimistic about the prospects of the legal challenge, the fact that three unionist parties united to support it is a positive development. Until now a fragmented unionism has lacked a common lobbying voice to promote and protect the kind of core principles violated by the Protocol.
Eoghan Harris is a columnist in the Sunday Independent
There are aspects of the Protocol that are unhelpful such as the Irish Sea border. The whole Brexit saga began with threats if there was a hard border and now threats as there is a sea border.
It is peculiar to have checks on the movement of goods within a nation. However, the Protocol is law and will not be removed. The best that unionism can affect is changes to Articles 5-10 via a majority in the Assembly. That is unlikely.
Brexit is effectively over beyond some tinkering around trade and movement issues. So the threat to unionism can only come from its reaction to the Protocol and any sense that it is merely reacting to a section of unionism that is traditional and intransigent.
Unionist political parties are losing votes to Alliance, not the TUV, and you would think energy for electoral renewal would be directed at winning over the majority of the pro-Union community who are socially liberal and who are not overly-exercised by the Protocol.
What unionism should do now is very simple. Stop behaving in a manner that will breathe life into the debate over a border poll.
Examine and promote the aspects of the Protocol that will lead to economic growth. Promote Northern Ireland as unique and with two customs territories.
Bargain with Downing Street to encourage GB-based companies who want unfettered access to the EU to locate here and not in the EU.
The Assembly has delivered Belfast as one of the fasting growing software economies in the EU so more politics of the pragmatic that promotes NI as a site of investment, educational advancement and opportunity.
Forego the politics of resistance and not an inch, that is long gone, and build a politics of inclusion and societal renewal.
Professor Peter Shirlow is the director at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Irish Studies and a founding member of the www.arinsproject.com
The Irish Sea Border changes the dynamic between GB and NI. That's significant and it's the reason why people are so angry. But it will only pose a threat if unionism lets it pose a threat.
Unionism needs to be smart in how it addresses the problem.
Unionism now needs to make the Protocol work to their advantage. They should try and get it mitigated and, in the long-term, encourage GB to align more closely with the EU. If they want rid of the Protocol they need to come up with a viable alternative.
Any alternative must take account of nationalist and republican concerns around a hard border.
Sarah Creighton is a lawyer and commentator
Dr John Kyle
The careful equilibrium achieved by the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement has been disrupted by the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Northern Ireland's integrated position in the United Kingdom has been fundamentally altered by the extensive restrictions on the movement of goods and services between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and therefore the Irish Sea border, and the implementation of these restrictions is a threat to Northern Ireland's position within the United Kingdom.
Unionists are unanimous in calling for the removal of the Northern Ireland Protocol which has given rise to the Irish Sea border.
Boris Johnson must recognise that he has placed a region of the United Kingdom under the governance of the European Union but without representation.
Taxation without representation was unacceptable to the early American colonies and remains so today for unionists.
The existence of the Irish Sea border is a product of Boris Johnson's duplicity and the European Union's inflexibility, intransigence and failure to understand the balance inherent in the GFA. It makes no allowance for Northern Ireland's unique position.
The movement of goods and components from Great Britain to Northern Ireland as their final destination presents no threat to the Customs Union or Single Market and therefore should not be subject to any restrictions or additional regulations. Frictionless movement is only a problem for the EU if the goods are in transit to the wider European market.
Biosecurity measures which have successfully protected the island of Ireland for decades are being unnecessarily strengthened, another example of the gratuitous implementation of unnecessary regulations embedded in a largely unnecessary Irish Sea border.
Dr John Kyle is a PUP councillor
Dr Graham Gudgin
The Northern Ireland Protocol is an unnecessary and undemocratic sledgehammer to crack a nut.
There are simpler ways to protect the EU from receiving illegal imports across an open land border without constructing a customs border in the Irish Sea between NI and GB for the first time in hundreds of years.
The Protocol states "a shared aim of avoiding controls at the ports and airports of Northern Ireland" and "of impacting as little as possible on the everyday life of communities in Northern Ireland".
It also "has regard to the importance of maintaining the integral place of Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom's internal market". Despite all of this it goes ahead and imposes customs controls on the sea border.
This has infuriated unionists who demand that Northern Ireland should be treated the same way as any other parts of the UK. While this demand is understandable it is also true that NI has never quite been the same as other parts of the UK and can live with light customs controls, but these need to completely avoid the current heavy handedness.
Will a sea border destroy the Union? The answer is no. There is a solid majority in support of remaining in the Union, and living standards are higher than in the Republic. The Union is safe.
What should unionism do now? The protocol was shamefully poorly drafted, and the EU is exploiting its advantage even though it faces absolutely no current problems with imports from the UK.
Unionists should support David Frost and employ all methods to insist on the lightest possible application of the rules. If the EU continues to insist on checks for goods that were until very recently no problem at all, then nuclear options may be needed. In extremis these include removing cooperation with the North-South Ministerial Council and cross-border bodies.
Dr Graham Gudgin is an honorary research associate at the Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. He was special adviser to the First Minister in Northern Ireland 1998-2002.
The Irish Sea border is an unwanted tangle in the link between Northern Ireland and Britain - and those pro-Union citizens who voted to remain in the EU can't help but feel annoyed at this further consequence of Brexit.
In truth, Northern Ireland has often felt like a place apart within the UK, in terms of progressive legislation, options for party affiliation and standards of living. Unionists have often felt themselves clinging on (as the poet Tom Paulin phrased it) to "the window-ledge of the Union".
However, this place is still in the UK 100 years after its creation despite massive challenges. That is remarkable.
I think there is no great value in yet another attempt to create a successful protest movement. Previous attempts to overturn imposed change have not worked. Repeated failure demoralises.
Northern Ireland must instead take hold of the opportunities that are presented by having a foothold in the EU as well as being in the UK. With a smart young workforce, an English speaking population and advocates in Biden's America, this place is ideally placed to host global companies who want access to both the UK and EU.
The future beckons and it could actually be exciting.
The Illustrated History Of Flight by Philip Orr is published by Singular Publishing. To purchase a copy, go to www.ptorr.com
Read part one of this article.