With the UK officially out of the EU from Midnight tonight, local lobbying group Border Communities Against Brexit have released a statement recalling their campaign which involved lobbying with organisations and protests at the border. The statement also thanks many of those involved in the negotiations.

A Spokesperson for the group explains that now we have a Brexit Deal, but more importantly we now have the Irish Protocol which is to operate in all circumstances, to ensure that there would "Never Ever be a physical Border on our island Ever Again." a Core task for BCAB.

A Border Communities Against Brexit protest in October 2016. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
A Border Communities Against Brexit protest in October 2016. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

"We are ordinary people from all walks of life who came together to campaign to highlight to those people living in Border Communities about the massive risk to our futures.

"Be under NO illusion that had we not campaigned, held many protests, lobbied the Irish Government, lobbied Pro Remain Political Parties, lobbied UK Politicians, but especially lobbying hundreds of Members of the European Parliament, we most definitely would have Border Posts being constructed from Dundalk to Derry, even under the Deal that has just been agreed.

"Apart from the very significant economic damage this would have caused, the huge disruption to those of us living in Border Communities; our communities would have been forced to navigate through a handful of open border routes, it would without any doubt have brought about the substantial risk of violence towards new border infrastructure.

"This would absolutely have had very serious consequences for the most precious thing on this Island, Our Peace Process.

"Peace under the architecture of the Good Friday Agreement has been the solid foundation of our society for the past 20 years, it has brought so much economic and societal benefits, without it our Island would most definitely have taken a substantial backward step."

The Spokesperson continued "The North unfortunately is No Longer in the European Union, instead the North will align with EU Regulations on Goods and Customs, this alignment prevents a physical Border on the land, but for those of us who would wish to Remain to be full members of the EU, this is very very difficult to accept.

"We have lost much, such as, our Rights taken away, loss of Representation by MEP’s, loss of many Structural Funds, with other things mitigated by the Irish Government which is very welcome.

"BUT, Never ever forget that we VOTED REMAIN."

The group believe that although we are in a better situation, this could not have occurred without the Kindness and generosity of spirit of the European Union.

"A special thank-you to the Task Force under the leadership of an amazingly patient gentleman Michel Barnier, also to the leader of the Commission Ursula Yon der Leyen, her predecessor Donald Tusk, to the former Brexit Coordinator Guy Verholfstadt, each current and former members of the Brexit Steering Group.

"Thank you to the efforts of the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Foreign Minister, to the Deputy first Minister alongside the leaders of the SDLP and Alliance.

"Crucially without the direct assistance of Marian Harkin, Matt Carthy and Martina Anderson when MEP’s we could not have travelled to Europe as often as we did.

" International support was also vital, especially the Irish Caucus, but specifically the unwavering support of Speaker Pelosi, and Richard Neal, this was critical, Thank you."

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