Sunday 22 April 2018

March on Stormont over fears of return to hard Border

Michelle O'Neill Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Michelle O'Neill Photo: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Anti-Brexit campaigners have marched on Stormont in Northern Ireland to voice concerns about the future of free Border movement.

The demonstration included the erection of mock customs checkpoints to highlight fears about a hardening of the Irish Border when the UK leaves the EU.

The 300-strong protest came amid a political crisis at Stormont that has left the region without a devolved government as the Brexit process formally started.

They chanted "no borders, no barriers, no Brexit" as they made their way up the landmark main avenue to the steps of Parliament Buildings.

While Sinn Féin and the SDLP joined the colourful picket, elsewhere unionists welcomed the triggering of Article 50. The majority of voters in Northern Ireland backed Remain, 56pc.

The Stormont march was organised by campaign group Border Communities Against Brexit. Spokesman Declan Fearon told the crowds British Prime Minister Theresa May was not interested in their concerns.

"It seems she simply doesn't care, maybe doesn't know what the full implications are for the people who live along the Border," he said. "Our population here is less than 3pc of the UK, so it seems we don't matter when the bigger decisions are being made.

"We must show we are not going to stand by while our island and our economy is devastated and divided by Brexit."

Sinn Féin's leader in the North Michelle O'Neill, who attended the protest, said: "Clearly we need special status - we are building momentum and that argument is resonating across Europe.".

DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds said: "While others are content to moan we want to see delivery happen and we are confident she (Mrs May) will make that happen."

Irish Independent

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