Derry campaign group takes Brexit border message to Dublin
Derry Girls Against Borders has called on people to take a stand against any borders in the island.
Campaign group Derry Girls Against Borders has taken their message to Dublin on Wednesday to encourage those in the Irish Republic who are against a hard border post-Brexit to join their fight.
The group has also called on those involved in the Brexit negotiations to listen to the fears and anxieties of those living in border communities.
Their campaign message includes taking a stand against any borders on the island of Ireland or down the Irish Sea, and the freedom and flexibility currently afforded to those on the island to continue.
Co-founder Sarah Wallace, who is originally from Londonderry and now lives and works and Dublin, says people from both north and south of the border must come together to protest against checkpoints and visas to travel across the Irish border that could soon become a reality.
“Thousands of people cross the border every day, most people don’t even notice they’re crossing it – and that’s how it should stay,” she said.
Ms Wallace added that although the border issue had dominated headlines, the conversation to date had not yet focused on the effect a border would have on local communities and how heavily the Northern Ireland peace process depends on the border issue.
“Parts of the Good Friday Agreement depend on the border and the peace process cannot be put at risk.
“We’re non-partisan, we’re appealing to everyone, even those who voted for Brexit but did not vote for a hard border, to join in this fight against it.”
The panel discussion held in Dublin’s Trinity College heard from a number of people who live in the Republic and Northern Ireland.
Before we lived in it, my house and the land around it was often patrolled by guards to catch smugglers. We don't want to go back to the dark days of violence and smuggling, and limits on a free community Tate Donnelly
One issue that was addressed was the epidemic of border-smuggling during the Troubles and how easy it would be to restart due to the porous nature of Ireland’s border.
Tate Donnelly, from Co Monaghan, spoke about his experiences growing up in a house directly on the border.
“When I go for a jog, or walk my dog, I can’t count how many times I cross the border and back again.
“Before we lived in it, my house and the land around it was often patrolled by guards to catch smugglers. We don’t want to go back to the dark days of violence and smuggling, and limits on a free community.”
It is believed more than 30,000 people cross the Irish border daily, which has between 200 and 300 hundred crossings.
It has been estimated 7,000 jobs could be impacted in Co Donegal alone should a hard border be implemented when the UK leaves the EU.
The group – which is collecting signatures for a petition to hand over to political representatives from the governments in London, Dublin and Brussels – travels to London on Thursday to take their message across the Irish Sea.