A hard border is totally unacceptable to the majority of the people of Ireland. It would be fundamentally anti-democratic and risks increasing sectarian tensions on the island. Only the dinosaurs of the Democratic Unionist Party would welcome it because they want to strengthen partition – even if it leads to economic losses.
Up to now, the Irish government has made a great play on the level of solidarity it received from the EU. Establishment politicians refer constantly to ‘our partners’ and even ‘our gallant allies in Europe’. They give the impression that the EU has the interests of the Irish people at heart.
But this is a fundamental misreading of the situation.
Brexit involves a power-play between two economic bullies who are fighting over the terms of their divorce settlement. Both have been willing to play on a fear factor, threatening even the provision of food and medicine – all to get their way.
The EU has used Ireland primarily as a lever to push Britain into a settlement that benefits them. Once that lever ceases to be of any use, they will order the Irish government to impose border controls. This could happen before or after the British Tories start to erect a hard border on their side.
The Irish government is preparing its population for this possibility. They say they do not want to impose such a border – but they are willing to play the ‘no choice’ line eventually.
People Before Profit will stand firm against any such maneuvers:
- Our policy is to demand from the Irish government a public legal declaration that they will not impose a hard border.
- If the EU insists on such a border, the Irish government should state that the peace and security of this island are more important than EU rules.
- If, despite everything, moves are made to impose a hard border, People Before Profit will join with others in a campaign of civil disobedience to remove border posts.
- In such a crisis situation, it becomes imperative to unite as many people as possible behind a campaign of ‘people power’ to demand a border poll.
- In such a referendum, People Before Profit will argue that the end of partition is the only secure way to avoid a hard border.
- Winning such a poll will depend on showing that radical change is needed in the South to guarantee everyone access to a public health system and decent services. We also need to remove the Catholic Church from all public institutions.
- That is why we shall also push for a simultaneous referendum in the South to create a new People’s Constituent Assembly for a new united Ireland to replace the conservative and crony legacy of the Southern state.