Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

BCAB calls for redoubling of effort to prevent hard border post-Brexit

Britain’s idea of a Brexit deal is “very wide of the mark”, as is evident from British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Salzburg during last week, the local Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB) has declared.

In a statement released following the PM’s series of meeting with EU officials in an attempt to progress the issue, BCAB revealed it has met with MEP Marian Harkin TD as part of its efforts to see a deal reached that will prevent a return of a ‘hard border’ between north and south.

“The dancing around the issue has stopped, the EU has shown great patience, were very flexible during this process and agreed a form of words last December which became known as the Backstop, to allow the British government begin trade talks.  The ink was not dry on this December agreement before the British government was qualifying it, and now has totally abandoned it.

“Michel Barnier has been working hard to find another solution to this obstacle, but it seems that Brexiteers, with the support of the DUP, are prepared to face down the EU 27 and crash us out of the EU with a catastrophic no-deal.

“The EU is a rules-based club, which allows free movement of people, goods, capital and services. These rules bestow many benefits to its members but also ensure that a level playing field is created. Whenever you hear the EU say they will not allow the integrity of the Single Market or the Customs Union to be breached they mean it.  The deal last December allowed NI to remain in the Customs Union and parts of the Single Market, this deal has now been bizarrely abandoned; the island of Ireland has been treated as one entity for food safety for years, the proposed extension under the Backstop was minor, and no-one going about their normal daily business would notice any change.

“BCAB are constantly engaged on Brexit and as part of our outreach we recently met Marian Harkin MEP.  We are urging all political parties in Ireland to work to a common aim, to redouble their efforts to achieve a deal on Brexit, which will not see the return of a hard border and the resulting consequences of tens of thousands of jobs lost across this Island.  There are many examples of ‘special cases” within countries in the EU, no one in those countries feels less a part of that country.”