Irish border controls likely post-Brexit, west Belfast event hears

(L-R) Former Victims' Commissioner Patricia McBride, ex-Irish diplomat Ray Bassett, host Noel Thompson, Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill and political commentator Alex Kane at Féile an Phobail. Picture by Declan Roughan
Staff Reporter

BORDER controls are likely to be introduced post-Brexit, a former Irish ambassador to Canada said last night.

Speaking at the West Belfast Talks Back event as part of Féile an Phobail, Ray Bassett told a packed crowd at St Louise's College that there is "absolutely no realistic proposal at the moment which would avoid a border" after the UK leaves the European Union.

Mr Bassett was joined by panellists including Sinn Féin's northern leader Michelle O'Neill, Irish News columnist Alex Kane and former Victims' Commissioner Patricia McBride.

During a wide-ranging discussion, Ms O'Neill described Brexit as a disaster.

She questioned how people of different backgrounds could shape a new future in Ireland post-Brexit and suggested that the Irish constitution could be amended to recognise British identity.

The Mid-Ulster MLA said she was keen to see a united Ireland which also respected people's sense of Britishness.

During a discussion on how to address the past, panellists agreed that British soldiers involved in Troubles-era crimes should not be immune from prosecution.

Ms McBride said amnesties could not be given to certain groups.

"We're not a post-conflict society, we're a society transitioning out of conflict," she said.

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