British government leading us to hard border warns Sinn Féin MP

Posted By: February 10, 2017

Distributed by Irish National Caucus

COMMITTEE: Sinn Feinâ??s Pat Doherty told an Oireachtas committee 

yesterday there is no such thing as a soft border

Brian Hutton. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, February 10, 2017
Britain will impose a hard border on the island of Ireland as it leaves the European Union regardless of its impact, a senior Sinn Féin MP has said.

Pat Doherty, former vice president of the party, told a parliamentary committee there is no such thing as a soft border.

Ireland should not be “naive” about an imminent new frontier and needed to realize Britain had only permanent interests, not permanent friends, he said.

“There is no such thing as a soft border… just soft words,” he told Dublin’s Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

“The road the British government is traveling on is going to lead to a hard border on the island of Ireland.

“We are in for a very, very difficult time.”

The West Tyrone MP said it did not matter that every political party, north, and south, bar one or two small factions, was opposed to a

310-mile hard border being re-imposed between both parts of the island.
“We should not be naive about the intention of the British government,” he said.

“They are going to have a hard border, and they do not care in any meaningful way about its impact on Ireland.”

Mr. Doherty said Theresa May’s government cares only about the “Tory and Brexit vote, mostly in England” and Ireland has a huge job to convince Europe of the depth of the problem.

But he added Europe could “devise special circumstances” for Northern Ireland given that every citizen is entitled under the Good Friday Agreement to be an EU citizen.

Public spending Minister Paschal Donohoe, who appeared before the committee hearing into the impact of Brexit on the peace deal, said the Irish government needed to look at trade and funding models between Sweden and Norway as well as France and Switzerland.

“We want the current trading relationship between the UK and Ireland to be as close to the current circumstances as possible,” he said.

“That is the objective we will have entering negotiations.”

Mr. Donohoe said the British “had left space” in what relationship it will have with the EU’s customs union in the future, which allowed an important area to negotiate a trading arrangement that best suits the needs of the Irish economy.

“anytime I visit any of the border counties I hear very clearly from citizens their concerns on economic stability and freedoms now and in the future,” he said.

“I agree that we can not see a return to a hard border because of the destabilizing effects it would have on the north and other parts of Ireland.”