“Bordering on Brexit – voice of border communities.
The Irish Central Area Border Network (ICBAN) has just published a study , conducted by Queens University’s Katy Hayward, on the views of Border Communities on Brexit. The region it says is at risk of being the most deeply affected adding that “although the nature and extent of any changes are as yet unknown, their very prospect is already having an impact…”
It says this is particularly damaging in a Region where development and cooperation is still below the levels that could be expected of a region of similar features in another part of Europe.
With evidence collected in survey form it says that “…..the legacy of violent conflict is apparent in the fears that people have about the impact of Brexit on the border.
“For many respondents, the very term ‘border control’ is one that conjures images of a securitised border and recalls deeply negative experiences and community tensions.
“Our respondents referred to the ‘emotional’ and ‘psychological’ aspects of the border being reawakened as a result of the Brexit referendum. As one participant described it: ‘We’re still on the path to reconciliation and this is like opening a wound.’
The study is not designed to be a comprehensive report on the potential impact of Brexit across a range of sectors but rather an opportunity to record the views of local communities who are ‘bordering on Brexit’ in a very literal way.
It concludes that more attention needs to be paid to the interconnectedness of the Border Region. It says now is not the time to let political sensitivities around cross-border cooperation distract from the need for preparation or from the value of maintaining strong economic and social networks.