“The border in Ireland is already too hard” – Matt Carthy MEP
“Taoiseach’s comments show need to strengthen opposition to Brexit chaos”
Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, has said that today’s comments by Leo Varadkar regarding the re-militarisation of the border, coupled with the remarks of an European Commission spokesperson this week that a hard border was “pretty obvious” without an agreement, signalled a need for communities to reaffirm their opposition to any hardening of the border in Ireland.
Matt Carthy said:
“The border in Ireland is already too hard, albeit more invisible than ever. Partition has been a disaster for our entire island but especially for communities in the counties that straddle the border. Those communities will not accept a hardening of the border as suggested by the European Commission this week and they certainly won’t thank Leo Varadkar for introducing the prospect of a re-militarisation of their areas.
“There are 10 counties that straddle the border North and South. Those 10 counties have a combined population of 1.7 million people who have already been neglected by the presence of the border and who will be disproportionally affected by any hardening of that border. In every other county too there are people who cross the border daily on their commutes while thousands of hauliers traverse the region seemingly at present.
“The nature of the border, being an artificial construct, means that the 300 crossings cannot be monitored in a conventional manner. As history has shown us, neither can it secured by military means. Any attempts at sealing the border, even at a bureaucratic level, will simply damage the communities along it and the all-Ireland economy.
“Rather than introducing the prospect of the re-militarisation of the border Leo Varadkar should be stating categorically that his government will do everything within their power to avoid such a prospect. That includes the prospect of a poll on Irish unity in a ‘no deal’ scenario. It is telling that while the Taoiseach has refused to countenance such a poll he appears willing to put Irish soldiers back on the border.
“It is time he got his priorities straight. He must listen to the voices of communities across the island but especially in the border region. They will not tolerate a hardening of that border.”