Brexit border: Farmer's land could be cut in two for the second time and locals crave status quo
Gordon Crockett does not wish to suffer the same fate as his great-great grandfather, who began farming near the northernmost tip of Ireland before a border was ever erected on the island.
The Crockett family farm was cut in two when Ireland won independence from Britain in 1921 and the island was partitioned.
“Before partition he used to milk cows but as soon as the partition came the custom men were standing across the field and told him ‘That’s the last time you bring cows across the border’,” said Gordon, the fifth generation of farmer in the family.
Like many along the 500 km (310 mile) frontier that remains one of the most intractable issues in Britain’s negotiations to leave the European Union, the Crockett’s farm lies in both the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, straddling the counties of Donegal and Londonderry.
“At the minute there is no real problem, you can cross the border as free as you want. We could cross it six or eight times a day,” the beef, sheep and cereal farmer said.
“If there was any sort of obstruction it would slow down our work every day.”
London and Dublin are committed to keeping the free flow of goods without returning to the kind of checkpoint that once operated below the Crockett’s field. But agreeing a practical solution post-Brexit has proved elusive so far.
A hundred kilometers away in the southern border town of Clones, Brian Adamson has nothing but bad memories of the border which was transformed by a 1998 peace deal that ended Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’ and by the creation of the EU’s Single Market that removed barriers to trade among members.