Re-establishment of border checkpoints would be calamitous – Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD
Sinn Féin T.D. for Cavan Monaghan, Caoimhghín Ó Caolain has said that the re-establishment of border checkpoints would be calamitous for people north and south of the border. Teachta Ó Caoláin was speaking during a Sinn Féin motion on Brexit that called for, among other things, the North of Ireland to be designated with a special status within the EU and for the whole island of Ireland to remain within the EU together.
“The uncertainties associated with the forthcoming triggering of Article 50 by British Prime Minister Theresa May and the implications it will have for not just border communities like my own in Cavan and Monaghan has instilled an unsurprising sense of foreboding and fear amongst people north and south of the border and very especially in those same and in other border counties.
“Sinn Fein have been continuously saying that a north of Ireland exit from the European Union would harden the divisions between north and south on this island, with the potential for the re-introduction of customs checkpoints, trading tariffs and adverse knock-on effects for all-island economic activity and cooperation. This would re-affirm and harden the border and could be the most intense development on the border landscape since partition and certainly since the demilitarisation of the border post the Good Friday Agreement.
“The Irish Government have continuously assured us that they would do their utmost to avoid any return to a hard border. However, it is frightening to learn that under Government plans to deal with Brexit, they have begun identifying location points for full customs checkpoints along the border with the North.
“The re-establishment of border checkpoints would be a calamitous scenario for people right across this island, but particularly in border counties and all efforts must be made to avoid this from happening.
“There is a way of avoiding all of this. 56% of people in the North voted to remain in the EU. The democratic will of the people must be respected. The only credible approach is for the north to be designated with special status within the EU and thereby for the whole island of Ireland to remain within the EU. As part of the Brexit negotiations, it is essential to argue the case for designated special status for the North within the European Union” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.