Solidarity-PBP call on Government to refuse border checks

TDs insist ‘security and peace’ more important than membership of EU single market

The Solidarity-People Before Profit alliance have held a 'think in' ahead of the new Dáil term where they cited workers' rights, the climate crisis and housing as priority areas. Video: Bryan O'Brien


The Government should refuse to introduce checks on goods crossing the Border in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Solidarity-People Before Profit TDs have said.

Speaking in Dublin following the group’s think-in on Thursday ahead of the resumption of the Dáil later this month, they insisted that “security and peace” are more important than membership of the EU single market.

“We don’t accept that the needs of the EU single market come ahead of the needs and interests of people North and South,” Dún Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd-Barrett said. “If that means playing hardball with the European Union, that’s what Leo Varadkar has to do.”

Asked if there was a crash-out Brexit should Ireland flout EU rules about checking goods entering the single market, TD Brid Smith said: “Absolutely . . . the interests of peace and security of this island come way before the interests of a single market.”

Echoing a point made by all her colleagues, Ruth Coppinger, the Dublin West TD said, : “We don’t trust Leo Varadkar or the EU or Boris Johnson to represent the interest of ordinary workers.”

The group urged “working people” to resist any attempts to impose the costs of a no-deal Brexit on them.

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People Before Profit in Northern Ireland supported Britain’s withdrawal from the EU in the 2016 referendum, though it said it wanted a “Lexit” — a left wing Brexit — rather than a “Tory Brexit”.

Dublin South West TD Paul Murphy said it was “fundamental problem” with the Brexit negotiations that there was “no representatives of ordinary people anywhere in Europe on either side of the negotiating table.”

He added: “Its representatives of a wing of big business in Britain negotiating with those who represent the interests of big business across the EU in the form of the European Commission who we know are absolutely liberal, austerity, extremely right wing hawks.”

Cork TD Mick Barry said Fine Gael and Fianna Fail were making preparations to “make working class people the whipping boys for the no deal Brexit.”

Businesses that were threatened with closure or were seeking pay cuts because of Brexit, he said, should be “nationalised under workers” control and workers’ management.”

The TDs were joined by student climate activists and trade unionists, though several TDs were critical of the trade union movement for not “using their teeth” on climate action and on Brexit.

They also discussed the housing crisis, and were highly critical of what they said was the failure of the Government’s market-driven solutions.

The group would campaign for welfare and pension increase in the budget, they said, as well as the introduction of free public transport.

Mr Murphy also said that they would table an amendment to the Dáil standing orders to prevent the Government from blocking private members’ bills which have been passed by the House.