Jarlath Burns on the unthinkable reality of a hard border in Ireland
“Nobody wants to see any of this, nobody wants to see any of this start again.”
While the way Brexit is being handled in the House of Commons has been almost comical at times, it’s far from a laughing matter for the many who would be affected by the return of a hard border in Ireland.
You can watch the interview in full below.
Throughout the Brexit process, key figures in the Irish and UK governments and in the EU have repeatedly stressed the need to avoid a hard border, but with the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looming ever larger, fears remain of a return the ways of old.
Of an age to remember what life was like in Northern Ireland before the removal of borders and when the Troubles were a part of everyday life, former Armagh footballer Jarlath Burns knows all too well the impact the return of a hard border would have.
Speaking to Dion Fanning on this week’s episode of Ireland Unfiltered, Burns, who played his club football with Silverbridge in south Armagh, outlined the difficulties the return of a hard border would create and his fears that we are drifting towards it becoming a reality.
“Here’s my fear, Dion, here’s the fear. Right, so, hard Brexit, hard border. So hard border means customs posts, customs posts practically can only happen on main roads, that means then you create unapproved roads,” he said.
“So unapproved roads would either have to be blown up at the border so people can’t pass, or barriers put across them, that’s what used to happen. Once you’ve customs posts you have people who want to close the customs posts and open the roads and they will come against the government who wants to keep the customs posts open and the roads closed because all of that is rational.
“And then we wake up one morning to hear that a customs post has been blown up, and a border campaign starts again. Nobody wants to see any of this, nobody wants to see any of this start again, but the fear is that we find ourselves drifting, drifting, drifting into a situation where this happens.”