Anti-Brexit campaigners stage border day of action

February 20, 2017

Campaign group Border Communities Against Brexit staged a go-slow protest at Carrickarnon on Saturday to highlight the potential impact of a ‘hard border’ following the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Traffic was brought to a crawl as a convoy of lorries and tractors with horns blaring travelled on the main Newry to Dundalk cross-border route, as protestors waved placards.

A mock Customs checkpoint was erected as a visual throwback to the “borders of the past”, depicting the ramifications Brexit will have on the daily lives of border communities.

One of the demonstration organisers and spokesman for Border Communities Against Brexit, Declan Fearon, says news that the Irish government has already begun the task of identifying where cross-border checkpoints could be established in preparation for Britain leaving the EU, has come as a shock.

“We are sleeping walking into a hard Brexit and a hard border,” he told those gathered.  “We are really in the eye of the storm of Brexit and we intend to make sure that this does not happen.  We never want to see this community going back to what it was before.  The people here do not want to contemplate the reinstatement of spikes and roads being closed and of customs check points and it looks like that is where we are going.”

Mr Fearon said protesters were trying to make their voices heard in Westminster and Dublin.

“It seems as if [Prime Minister] Theresa May and the British Government have no intention of listening to us.  They would not contemplate any assurances or guarantees that the Good Friday Agreement would not be injured or changed in any way as a result of Brexit.  They don’t seem to have any of our interests here along the border at heart and we want to make sure our voices are heard as far and wide as possible.

“They must come into the border communities see the small clusters of towns and villages with family ties and business and sporting that a hard border will damage.  Farmers, the fishing industry, the tourism sector, the building industry, our sporting organisations, community associations, local businesses and family ties and all of those hoping to invest and create jobs want certainty from our political leaders, we need them to come together and agree a way forward.”