‘Brits are ig­no­rant about us here... they haven’t a clue and they don’t care’

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - CIARA PHE­LAN

ANX­I­ETY ON THE BOR­DER AS BREXIT CON­FU­SION CON­TIN­UES

HARD­WORK­ING Gerry McIn­tyre has got him­self back on track af­ter los­ing his wife but fears Brexit will cause an­other heartache.

The 60-year-old busi­ness­man from Cootehill, Co Ca­van, said his pre­ci­sion en­gi­neer­ing com­pany would have a ma­jor down­turn if the UK crashes out with­out a deal.

He told the Ir­ish Sun­day Mir­ror: “I al­ways said I’d never get wor­ried about busi­ness but the un­cer­tainty is very an­noy­ing.

“Around 60% of my busi­ness goes to North­ern Ire­land and the UK and I have about 10 peo­ple work­ing for me. If there’s a crash out and tar­iffs, I would lose six em­ploy­ees, it’s their liveli­hood too.

“I have done noth­ing wrong. I have worked hard all my life and I don’t want to lose all of this be­cause of some­one else’s in­ten­tions to move out of Europe.”

Brexit has al­ready cost the dad of three a for­tune. In­stead of mak­ing in­vest­ments, he has had to splash out on Brexit train­ing for em­ploy­ees.

He said: “I can’t tell you how many meet­ings I have at­tended morn­ing, noon and night. I have gone to Rev­enue and Cus­toms meet­ings re­gard­ing costs on im­por­ta­tion and ex­por­ta­tion of ma­te­ri­als.

“I sent my sec­re­tary on a course to learn how to cope with all the pa­per­work in­volved. We’re be­ing told it’s all go­ing to be done elec­tron­i­cally but with the broad­band crash­ing down con­stantly, I don’t know how it’ll work.

“It has cost me a for­tune ever since the day Brexit was men­tioned, it’s just a night­mare.

“The Brits are ig­no­rant to how it’ll af­fect those south of the bor­der – they haven’t a clue and don’t care about Ire­land.” Bor­der Phones, a shop sit­u­ated right on the Mon­aghan-Ar­magh bor­der, are in the dark over how Brexit will im­pact their busi­ness.

Niall Geoghe­gan said he sim­ply can not pre­pare for the fu­ture un­til it hap­pens.

The 28-year-old from Mid­dle­town, Co Ar­magh, added: “It’s just the un­known of what will ac­tu­ally hap­pen that you are wor­ried about.

“I have 90% of my busi­ness com­ing from the South and I just don’t know if that will be stopped overnight. We don’t know what will hap­pen.

“A lot of our parts would come in from China too. I don’t know how that will be af­fected, we lit­er­ally don’t know un­til it hap­pens.”

The former Ar­magh GAA goal­keeper

said it is alarm­ing when peo­ple come into his shop ask­ing for di­rec­tions to the bor­der.

He added: “It is fright­en­ing the amount of jour­nal­ists that come in here from the UK and ask me where the bor­der is.

“They don’t un­der­stand, they are look­ing for a big land­mark.

“Ital­ian tourists came into the shop a few weeks ago and asked for me to di­rect them to the bor­der. I told them they had just crossed it and they couldn’t be­lieve it, they just laughed.”

While trav­el­ling along bumpy back­roads,

If there’s a crash out, I would lose 6 em­ploy­ees. It’s their liveli­hood

GERRY McIN­TYRE

COOTEHILL, CO CA­VAN

one lo­cal man who has dab­bled in smug­gling be­lieves Brexit will see its re­turn.

He said: “You still have a lot of peo­ple com­ing from South of the bor­der to buy cheaper toi­letries, sweets and min­er­als in the North.

“I used to smug­gle tele­vi­sions, ket­tles and stereo units for peo­ple be­cause they were much cheaper.

“It would be a lot more eas­ier for or­gan­ised groups with the use of drones to see if there were any check­points in place on the back roads.” Al­though he lived through The Trou­bles, the Mon­aghan man said the younger gen­er­a­tion could be just as bru­tal as the paramil­i­taries of old.

He added: “I would be afraid of new dis­si­dent re­pub­li­can groups es­pe­cially the younger gen­er­a­tion. Repub­li­can­ism and a united Ire­land would be bred into some gen­er­a­tions around here.” Politi­cian De­clan Breath­nach from Dun­dalk, Co Louth, said smug­gling and or­gan­ised groups will only add to the al­ready ev­i­dent di­vide emerg­ing be­cause of Brexit. The 57-year-old Fianna Fail TD added: “It rep­re­sents the re-open­ing of a gap­ing wound. The neg­a­tive ef­fects of Brexit are al­ready ev­i­dent in the North, with the cre­ation of a new di­vide.

“The peace process is very frag­ile. Twenty years on from the Good Fri­day Agree­ment, the per­sis­tence of sec­tar­i­an­ism is still very vis­i­ble.

“I look back on the dark days of the Trou­bles with a deep sense of sad­ness of the lives lost and po­ten­tial wasted.

“I have said from the start Brexit can’t hap­pen, and I still think that even given ex­tra time, the prob­lems are too big to sur­mount.”

TOUGH CALL Niall Geoghe­gan in Co Ar­maghCON­CERN De­clan Breath­nach

FI­ASCO British Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May

ROAD TO NOWHERE Mir­ror­girl Ciara at the bor­der in Co Mon­aghan

TALKS EU’s Don­ald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker

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