New councillors would encourage ‘civil disobedience’ over post-Brexit hard border

Eamonn McCann said he thought it would be unlikely a campaign of civil disobedience would be necessary
Eamonn McCann said he thought it would be unlikely a campaign of civil disobedience would be necessary

Two newly elected councillors in Derry City and Strabane have said they will encourage “civil disobedience” in the event of a hard border after Brexit.

People Before Profit councillors Shaun Harkin and Eamonn McCann have said they would encourage a mass campaign of resistance if any physical infrastructure is erected between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Harkin, speaking to the News Letter, said: “A hard border can’t be imposed upon us if we don’t allow it to happen.

“We’ve called for people power mobilisations that would stop any kind of border infrastructure going up – we mean mass protests, sit-downs, demonstrations, and so on.”

Veteran campaigner Mr McCann, speaking on BBC Radio Foyle yesterday morning, expressed a similar view but said he was doubtful such a campaign would be necessary.

“We will be using the platform, if you like, of the council to encourage civil disobedience but I don’t think it’s going to come to this,” he said.

“I don’t believe there is going to be a hard border in the sense of there being installations and customs posts along the border. That’s not going to happen. I don’t believe the local people will stand for it.”

Mr McCann said the “extreme” reaction he believes a hard border would provoke post-Brexit makes it unlikely to happen in the first place.

“Anybody who thinks that you could build a hard border across the island of Ireland and that there’s not going to be extreme reactions to it, anybody who thinks that needs to look at Irish history – including very recent Irish history,” he said.

“You would have to be insane to think that you’re going to put up hard infrastructure and people aren’t going to shoot at it.”