Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Delegation of Labour MEPs on border visit

A delegation of British Labour party MEPs met with local politicians and anti-Brexit campaign groups during a visit to the border areas of south Armagh on Friday.

On a tour of the former British army base in Forkhill, the group was shown how it has been transformed into an excellent community space with social housing and children’s play facilities, demonstrating a fine example of how peace has reshaped the area.

Facilitated by SDLP MLA Claire Hanna, the visiting group heard of concerns regarding the implications of Brexit, with local MP Mickey Brady thanking them for taking the time to “see and hear the harsh reality of Brexit for the island of Ireland”.

“We very much welcome the interest of these Labour MEPs and their visit was a good opportunity for them to hear the catastrophic impact that Brexit and a hard border would have on the island of Ireland,” he said.

Representatives of the local Border Communities Against Brexit group also gave their opinion on how a post-Brexit hard border would have many negative implications for areas such as Forkhill.

BCAB impressed on the visiting MEPs of the need to fully support Northern Ireland remaining in the Customs Union and Single Market and for the current phase of the talks to be suspended until the British agree to the back stop.

“BCAB has recently written to An Taoiseach, all Irish Pro Remain parties and the President of the EU, the President of the EU Council, as well as Barnier, Verholfstadt, and the EU Brexit steering committee to demand the talks be frozen,” a group spokesperson said.

“We will also be taking part in meetings this week with Barnier during his visit to Ireland and we will impress upon him the urgency of the situation, as so many jobs depend upon NI staying in the Customs Union and Single Market.”