Opposition to a hard border in Northern Ireland is beginning to intensify with the October 31 Brexit deadline fast approaching. The issue has taken on a new and more dangerous tone with a new statement released from the New IRA, a statement that seemingly confirms that the border will come under attack should one be imposed as a result of Brexit.
“Bearing in mind any installation or aspects of British occupation within the Six Counties – be it at the border or elsewhere – any infrastructure would be a legitimate target for attack and armed actions against those infrastructures and against the people who are manning them.”New IRA statement
Speaking anonymously to Channel 4 News at an IRA safe house, a spokesperson for the New IRA declared that border infrastructure would be considered a “legitimate target for attack” and reaffirmed their commitment to armed struggle.
“The IRA is an army. And as an army, we are committed to armed struggle for political and social change in Ireland.”New IRA statement
While not considered to have much support within local communities, with membership said to be in the low hundreds, the potential for spiralling violence and a swell in membership exists should British forces and visible signs of occupation return to the streets of the Six Counties.
“It’s important to understand that this is a country under occupation by Britain, and as in any colonial situation the people have the right there to respond by all means necessary to that occupation… We are talking about an illegal occupation here that means the IRA reserved the right to attack those who are upholding that illegal occupation along the border and elsewhere and the illegal partition that goes with it. And those who are upholding that.”New IRA statement
While the Real IRA statement has understandably caused widespread commentary, more peaceful efforts to defend against the imposition of a border have also intensified throughout the counties.
Dozens of protestors gathered in the Irish town of Muff on the Derry-Donegal border to protest against the potential for a hard border and against Brexit in general yesterday, those in attendance waving placards and chanting anti-Brexit slogans.
“We’re sending a very clear message to the EU that this area, this community cannot deal with Brexit. Brexit will be an absolute disaster for these communities, it will be a disaster for this economy and it will be a disaster for people living in these areas, so we stand in full solidarity with the people here.”– Sandra Duffy, Sinn Fein councillor
Despite concerns surrounding the economic impact on impoverished communities in Northern Ireland and the potential for a return to widespread violence, the Conservative Government appear intent on having the EU without a deal on October 31st, with efforts to “secure a deal” derided as a “sham” by critics.