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