Closed roads a 'doomsday scenario' for border communities as Brexit deadline looms
Britain is still on course to crash out of the EU on Friday according to the Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB).
This morning as the group revealed a digital count down of the remaining days and hours, it’s spokesperson appealed to the British government to pull back from a hard Brexit.
Declan Fearon said that from their point of view, “all roads in our estimation lead to a very hard Brexit and a crash out and at the moment the law states that is going to be next Friday night at 11 o’clock.”
He said he listened to prominent Brexiteers over the weekend, and, “their line is that unless the law changes then they are out on Friday night and (then) we are absolutely in the very worst scenario we could have ever envisaged. From day one we have said this is a possibility and now it looks like it is going to happen.”
The solar powered digital countdown to Brexit is on a large sign at the side of the M1 motorway a few hundred metres from the border and beside the Jonesborough exit.
Mr Fearon said the fear of the community is that the same fate awaits local roads in a hard Brexit that they suffered in the past.
He said in the past “only 17 of these roads were official approved border crossings, all the rest were known as unapproved border crossings.
"That meant here all of those roads were closed and it came to the point when they were reopened by local people that they were eventually cratered and blown up by the British Army and that was to stop the movement of goods and people freely across the Irish border. What is going to be different if we get to a crash out deal, we think it could go back there.”
Closed roads would “divide these communities, split up these parishes, (and) go back to the doomsday scenario for the people who live here.”
He said “the clock is absolutely ticking and even at this late stage we are imploring people within the British government, within the Conservative govt to pull back from this, this does not have to be happen.”
He said there has to be a way the agreement can be approved “without it being seen as a border down the Irish sea.”
Speaking at the event Conor Murphy, Sinn Fein representative for Newry/Armagh, said, he thinks the Good Friday Agreement has been damaged by Brexit.
“This is an international agreement which has underpinned our peace process and has transformed lives of people across the island and the British government, in terms of its own Brexit interests, was prepared to jettison all of that.”
He said people need to know what the implications are of the discussions between Dublin and Brussels over the possibility of a No Deal exit.
He said Brussels and Dublin understand the damage Brexit could do to industries across the country including the border region.
“I think what they need to ensure is that whatever the British Government or the British people decide to do, that we do not become collateral damage,” he added.