Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Brexit deal prompts campaigners to cancel border protest

News on Friday that the first phase of Brexit talks between Ireland, the UK and the EU had yielded assurances that there will be no hard border prompted campaign group Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB) to cancel its planned protest.

The go-slow protest and rally was scheduled to take place on Saturday morning on the M1 motorway at the Jonesborough exit between Newry and Dundalk, in a bid to highlight the negative impact Brexit will have on border communities and those living and working between the two jurisdictions.

However, following protracted Phase 1 discussions between the British and Irish governments, which earlier in the week had threatened to collapse after the DUP rejected initial proposals, a compromise was reached in the early hours of Friday morning, thus allowing the talks to move to the next stage.  The deal prompted BCAB to call off its protest while it monitors progress.

BCAB spokesperson, Declan Fearon admitted concerns still remained however on aspects of the Customs Union and he said the group would like to see progress made on continued access to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and other important EU structural funds.

“There are significant wins in this document especially on EU citizens rights, the ongoing protections of the Good Friday Agreement and the regulatory alignment with EU rules and directives so we can continue to access vital EU markets and by definition avoid a Hard Border on the Island of Ireland,” Mr Fearon told The Examiner.

He added that it was vital that the British agreed to abide by EU rules “so inferior food and products would not be taken by the back door into the EU through the North”.

Mr Feaeron said the group will continue to monitor the Brexit talks and he extended thanks to the thousands of people who had supported BCAB during its campaign, asking everyone to continue to follow its endeavours via the group’s Facebook page.