Republic of Ireland immigration protests: Unionists react to opinion poll which finds 52% of Sinn Fein voters want border checkpoints

A southern opinion poll which found that 52% of Sinn Fein voters want border checkpoints against immigration has raised eyebrows among unionists.
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The poll, conducted by the Sunday Independent/Ireland Thinks, found that 50% of southern voters want checkpoints on the border to deter migrants, rising to 52% among Sinn Féin voters.

Sinn Fein is on record as saying that it wishes to retain sovereignty from the EU on immigration control, despite the bloc developing new policies to address the problem.

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Last week saw fractious exchanges between the Irish and British governments over southern claims that a surge in immigration in the south was due to people crossing the border from NI.

Protesters take part in the Ireland Says No anti-refugee in Dublin in February.Protesters take part in the Ireland Says No anti-refugee in Dublin in February.
Protesters take part in the Ireland Says No anti-refugee in Dublin in February.

On Monday hundreds of anti-immigration protesters held a march in Dublin, holding Irish flags and placards bearing messages such as “Irish Lives Matter” while there were chants including “get them out”.

Last week the Irish government said that 100 gardaí would be made available for frontline immigration enforcement duties.

Both the Government and Sinn Féin say they have firmly ruled out checkpoints on the border, however it is not yet clear how the officers will tackle the problem.

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However the DUP believe some form of Garda checks to secure the border from illegal immigration will become inevitable.

DUP MLA Gary Middleton MLA said: "Now polls show massive support in every Southern party for border checks.

"Despite years of Irish Government Ministers mocking unionists reminding them of where the border is, the Irish Government has now declared they are appointing 100 Garda to secure the 300-mile border from immigration. Yes, the same border that 25,000 soldiers struggled to secure during the Troubles.

"The Irish Government argued in 2018 that a single camera on the border would present a ‘real risk’ of serious violence. How times change. There is a lesson in all of this."

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A TUV spokesman said the party had little sympathy for the republic on the issue.

He said. “Whatever the problems of the Irish Republic, they are largely of their own making. Indeed, if they had not been so intransigent, they would have had infrastructure that would have aided in dealing with this situation. Now they are paying the cost."

Sinn Fein was invited to comment.

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