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A post-Brexit mile-deep Checkpoint Charlie

The post-Brexit border could include a mile deep stop and search zone. ROLLINGNEWS.IE

By Anthony Neeson

Nationalist politicians are reacting angrily to proposed new stop and search powers within a mile of the northern side of the Irish border after Brexit.

The British government’s Counter Terrorism and Border Security Bill is currently going through the British parliament.

Sinn Féin leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill, hit out at the controversial legislation which she says “is clearly preparing for a hard border in Ireland.”

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“The use of stop and search powers is already a cause of massive concern in nationalist areas and if powers as wide-ranging as these were introduced it would be disastrous,” said O’Neill.

“It runs counter to human rights provisions. It runs counter to the Good Friday Agreement and the principles of the European Common Travel Area. I will be taking this up directly with both governments because it is clear that, through this legislation, London is preparing for the imposition of a hard border in Ireland.

“That is a direct contravention to the assurances they gave to the European Union last December. It is sheer duplicity and the Irish government and the EU27 cannot allow them to renege on those guarantees.”

O’Neill said the Brexit negotiations are reaching a crucial stage “and Dublin and Brussels must ensure that there will be no hardening of the border in Ireland.”

SDLP MLA Claire Hanna said the proposals were a “grotesque assault on border life.”

“The UK government appear to neither care nor understand the anxiety they are causing here,” she said.

“At this point in the Brexit negotiations there is very little we could put past this government who seem prepared to sign up to almost anything in the name of Brexit, and oblivious to the tension these proposals create.”