More than 150 lorries hold protest on Irish border to demonstrate importance of free-flowing movement
- Credit: PA
More than 150 lorry drivers have staged a protest at the Irish border in a bid to highlight the importance of free-flowing movement.
A convoy of trucks made their way from Donegal and crossed the border into Co Londonderry.
Truck drivers taking part said they want to show how the free movement of freight is vital to businesses and trade.
The protest was brought to a standstill at the main border route, as hundreds of drivers and their supporters turned out to "show the world" what custom checks and infrastructure would look like.
There are about 13,800 border crossings every day between the Republic and Northern Ireland.
You may also want to watch:
George Mills, from the Irish Road Haulage Association, told PA: "We don't have to fill out any documentation or electronics or otherwise to cross this border, which we need to do every day of the week because of where we live.
"We can't go anywhere without crossing the border, even to do our business with Dublin. After Brexit we will be crossing an EU/non-EU frontier and that's going to create so many problems. We want to show the world how easy it is now.
- 1 Leave EU website suspended after EU registry blocks move to Ireland
- 2 Comedian wins praise after shaming No 10 during Dancing on Ice appearance
- 3 Television drama to focus on Boris Johnson's first year in Downing Street
- 4 Boris Johnson blames seafood companies for post-Brexit sales slump
- 5 Progressive alliance could see Labour win 351 seats at next election, new analysis reveals
- 6 Boris Johnson claims Labour supporters using Universal Credit vote to incite hatred
- 7 Michael Gove among 14 Tory MPs revealed to have joined banned Parler app
- 8 Priti Patel fails to appear in Commons to answer questions on missing police records
- 9 UK has highest Covid-19 death rate in world
- 10 Dominic Raab 'not convinced' collapse of fishing businesses would be result of Brexit deal
"The people of the UK don't seem to regard the border as important. Only 2% of their trade crosses this border, but it's nearly 100% of our trade that has to cross this border, so it's a big concern to us. We don't want to go back to any form of regulation that impacts that form of free movement of traffic.
"Our nearest port is Derry and Belfast, and they must bring up all our oil, coal, gas, animal feed, timber, coal. The nearest alternative is 200 miles away in Co Limerck that can handle that amount of cargo. If a ship load of coal comes into Derry and it's bound for a non-EU country it could possibly be of a different grade or quality than coal coming into a EU country.
"How will they divide that coal or animal feed? It will cause a lot more problems than they realise."
Truck driver Tom Doherty said it is important to show what a hard border would look like.
Doherty, who travels to Dublin every day from the Inishowen area to deliver fruit, vegetables and potatoes, said truck drivers would face "chaos" and "mayhem" at custom checks.
"I did it up to 1990 and it wasn't nice," he said. "We don't want to go back to those days of queuing at the border.
"We also don't know what tariffs we will have to pay on potatoes. If I want to avoid crossing the border we have to go by Sligo, and it's an extra three hours driving. Who will foot the extra cost? The farmer, customers or me?
"People don't want a border, full stop. The younger generation don't know what it is going to be like."
Doherty, who has been driving trucks for 30 years, is also concerned about the impact on the number of young people who want to work in the industry.
"They're not going to want to sit at the border for hours and I wouldn't expect them to," he added.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.