Anti-Brexit protestors stage mock Customs checkpoint

October 10, 2016

Hundreds of people from north and south took part in an anti-Brexit rally at Carrickarnon on Saturday during which a mock Customs checkpoint was erected.

The scene was a staged throwback to what protestors described as “borders of the past” and aimed at highlighting how the reintroduction of physical border controls after an EU exit will impact on the daily lives of border communities.

Organised by the Border Communities Against Brexit campaign group, the Carrickarnon protest was one of six similar demonstrations held at locations along the border.

Protestors heard from a number of guest speakers who voiced fears for a return of a “hard border” between north and south, which, they say, will have a vastly detrimental effect on the economy as well as on the lives of ordinary people.  They called for the views of the 56% of people in the north who voted against a Brexit to be recognized and respected.

Addressing the crowd, campaign group member Declan Fearon said such a move would have huge implications.

“It makes a huge difference if you impose a hard border by allowing customs checkpoints to be re-erected,” he said.

“There are over 300 border crossings from here all the way up to Derry. Does that mean we have to go back to the past where all of those minor roads were actually closed so it divided farms and communities?”

Other speakers included economist and Newry Chamber spokesperson Conor Patterson; Dundalk Chamber representative, Damien McGenity; Rosemary McDonnell, who spoke on behalf of the voluntary sector; and Matthew McGrenaghan and Paddy Malone, representing southern and northern farmers respectively.

Sinn Féin, the SDLP and Fine Gael were among the political parties represented at the rally.

The protests followed Prime Minister Theresa May’s announcement that she would trigger Article 50 to begin the Brexit process before the end of March next year and came in the week that the value of sterling plunged to its worst levels, further fuelling fears of a dramatic downturn in the economy.