An anti-Brexit protest has taken place in Dundalk, with campaigners warning that the island of Ireland is “sleepwalking into a hard Brexit and a hard border”.
Traffic was disrupted by a convoy of protesters who staged a motorway go-slow at Carrickarnon, Co Louth on the main road between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
They used lorries and tractors to highlight the impact of predicted customs checks on the local economy.
A trailer-load of sheep going to market and passport-toting residents took part in a theatrical “checkpoint” staged to highlight the detrimental impact of any such border.
It was the main demonstration, with protests also taking place on Saturday in Aughnacloy at Moybridge, in Lifford and at Bridge End in Londonderry.
Residents who live near the border are concerned that the UK leaving the European Union will have a devastating impact on north/south relations.
Border Communities Against Brexit Spokesperson Declan Fearon said: “An Taoiseach and the leaders and the leaders of all the political parties must clearly state that they will never build any structures on Ireland’s border, and they will fight in Europe not to allow a hard Brexit, and that the island of Ireland be treated as one entity in trade and the movement of its people.”
We are sleepwalking into a hard Brexit and a hard border.
– Declan Fearon, Border Communities Against Brexit
He added: “We are not going to accept platitudes from the British government, they must come into the border communities, see the small clusters of towns and villages with family ties and business that a hard border will damage, they cannot just put the blame on the EU and the Irish government for creating a border, they are the ones forcing the north out of the EU against our wishes and creating economic crisis for thousands on this island.”
It comes as the Irish government confirmed that contingency work has begun to identify possible locations for customs checkpoints, despite Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s insistence the Brexit process “will not bring us back to a border of division”.
Possible sites are said to include Louth, Monoghan, Cavan, Leitrim, and Donegal.