Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Border demonstration marks Brexit Day

Anti-Brexit protesters gathered at the at the Carrickcarnon border crossing on Friday night to voice their opposition to Brexit as the UK formally left the European Union.

Organised by Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB), around 200 people joined members of the campaign group in the demonstration, some waving placards and banners with messages of protest.

Addressing those gathered, BCAB spokesman Declan Fearon said that “without any doubt, Brexit will make all of us poorer”, citing the loss to farmers of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as well as overall “essential funding streams”.

He said: “Whilst the current deal means that there will be no hard infrastructure at the border, many threats and serious challenges remain.

“Because of our campaign, special measures are in place to ensure no border roads are closed. Without those special measures, border roads would be sealed off, with only a handful left open.

“Brexit in any form is bad for citizens, our economy, our peace and our future.  Workers’ rights, citizens’ rights, EU representation are all being reduced or removed against our will.  Opportunities for our young people will disappear and essential funding streams will be lost, including payments under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).”

He said Brexit should not be “an Orange and Green issue” and he called on local politicians to ensure the Irish Government “continues to stand up for our interests and those of all the people in the North”.

Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald with Vice-President Michelle O’Neill and party MLAs, TDs and councillors pictured at the unveiling of the Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB) billboard at Carrickarnon border crossing on Friday morning

Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy attended the event and said people are “very fearful” of the outcome of Brexit.

He said: “This part of Ireland did not consent to Brexit, we voted significantly to remain within the EU and we are being taken out of the EU without consent.

“People are very fearful of all the consequences of this, we know we weren’t in any way in consideration by the British Government or the people in Britain when they voted for Brexit. There are a lot of concerns from people as to how this will unfold.

“People in the government in the south need to be very vigilant that the protocols that have been agreed by the British Government are followed.  We do not want to see a hardening of the border,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald attended the unveiling of a BCAB billboard at the site.

Speaking at that event, she said Brexit “isn’t an end point” but “is very much a beginning”.

“This is not something that people on the island of Ireland want, bar a small minority,” she said.

“Brexit is a game-changer, it’s not a one-off event, it completely recasts and reshapes the political and economic conversation across the island, between the island of Ireland and Britain and right across the continent. So this isn’t an end point, this is very much a beginning.”