Sunday 22 April 2018

'Brexit will destroy the economy in this region' - Protests held in border areas

Speakers protest against Brexit vote on the Donegal/Derry border today
Speakers protest against Brexit vote on the Donegal/Derry border today
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

Protests were held in a number of border areas today to demonstrate against the Brexit vote.

On the Derry/Donegal border, people gathered behind an old customs building and highlighted the fears of the community over the prospect of a physical border being re-established

Northern Ireland, along with Scotland, voted to remain in the European Union on June 23, while England and Wales voted to leave.

John McGowan, chief executive of Enterprise North West, a border business park, said the region's economy would be destroyed by Brexit.

"Economic wise, long term, Brexit will destroy the economy in this region, I have no doubt, " he said.

"If you talk to any investor that's thinking of opening a factory, they look at three things- access to market, corporation tax, and access to good people."

Mr McGowan said the prospects of visas would create issues for third level colleges in the area and the economy.

The protest took place in Bridgend, co Donegal, close to the border with Derry.

Demonstrators briefly staged a mock border customs post as part of the protest.

Dermot o'Hara, one of the organisers of the protest, said Derry's natural hinterland was Donegal.

"Our message here, and there are a number of protests today, is not just for the Conservative government, but Arlene Foster, the (Northern Ireland) Assembly, Enda Kenny, the Dublin Government and the EU," he said.

"We're saying we voted to remain and we want to remain. We need at every discussion and every negotiation, we need the six counties at the top of the agenda. "

The protests, organised under the umbrella of the Border Communities Against Brexit group, took place in six locations - Carrickcarnon, Moybridge, Aghalane, Belcoo, Lifford Bridge and Bridgend.

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