Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Anti-Brexit campaigners set to protest at Stormont

Local anti-brexit campaigners are set to stage a protest at Stormont this week against Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to trigger Article 50 – which formally notifies the European Union of Britain’s intention to withdraw. The group will march from the gate of Stormont towards Parliament Buildings in protest at the government’s unwillingness to set out a special case for Northern Ireland ahead of triggering Article 50.

Speaking ahead of the demonstration, due to take place at 2pm, Declan Fearon from Border Communities Against Brexit said the group have been actively engaging with MEPs on the issue of Brexit.

“We recently travelled to Brussels and held talks with MEPs from 5 different countries and 5 different political groups, including a number of Irish MEPs, and including some of the key people in the Brexit debate in the Parliament, such as Danuta Huebner (Chair of Constitutional Affairs Committee, which is the leading committee on Brexit)

“We have also met with some of those who are drafting the Parliament’s position on Brexit, including the office of the Chief Negotiator – Guy Verhofstadt, and the office of the President of the European Parliament – Antonio Tajani, as well as the Irish government representatives in Brussels. Very importantly, we have also met with the office of Michael Barnier- who will be negotiating directly with the British government.

“It was very clear that they are engaged and interested in how the North and Border Communities will be very badly affected by Brexit, but the British Government’s approach of taking us out of the customs union, removing the free travel of people while at the same time seeking free trade with the EU is seen in Europe as a pipe dream.

“It is not acceptable that 56% of us voted to remain, and no proposal has been forthcoming from the British Government ahead of triggering article 50 on how the North and Border Communities will be protected in terms of travel and trade.

“It is crucial that the political parties at Stormont campaign and urgently put Brexit at the top of their political agenda so that a special case can be made for the North and Border Communities to remain within European Union.

“We are seeking support from all sections of society and political affiliation in showing our anger towards the Prime Minister triggering article 50 without any thought on the economic damage she is doing to our communities.”

In addition to Wednesday’s protest at Stormont, Border Communities representatives will also meet with a group of cross party MEP’s on Thursday, who are touring the border region to see first hand how complex the borders are, and the nature of the makeup of surrounding communities.  The anti-brexit lobbying group will also be taking part in the public meeting in the Carrickdale Hotel at 7:30pm where the cross party  MEP’s will engage with the public and hear their concerns first hand.

Speaking on Behalf of Border Communities Against Brexit, Declan encouraged “all those who work or trade on a cross border basis, those who are involved in agriculture, those who are involved in community work, or those concerned at the effects of Brexit to come along to Wednesday’s protest at Stormont and the public meeting in the Carrickdale on Thursday.