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Eamonn McCann welcomes break with ‘racist, neo-liberal elite of the European Union'

People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann said the referendum result had 'changed the terrain on which we fight'. Picture by Mal McCann

DERRY-based pro-Brexit campaigner Eamonn McCann has said there is "zero possibility" of customs posts appearing along the Irish border because ordinary people would not tolerate it.

The People Before Profit MLA welcomed the result of last Thursday's EU referendum but distanced himself from the Leave campaign.

"We welcome the outcome as changing the terrain on which we fight," he said.

"We think to campaign for a vote against the EU – if only to signal there was another perspective – was worthwhile."

The veteran socialist said without a left-wing voice campaigning for Brexit, the electorate would have been left with a choice "between the racist, neo-liberal elite of the European Union on the one hand and a raggle-taggle collection of right wing loonies."

The Foyle MLA said he did not know how many of People Before Profit's supporters turned out to vote in the referendum. In both West Belfast, where the socialist party topped the poll in last month's assembly election, and Mr McCann's own constituency, there was a decisive majority for remaining in the EU. However, the 48.9 per cent turnout in West Belfast was the lowest in the UK, while in Foyle it was below average at 57.4 per cent.

Mr McCann criticised the Remain campaign for its "idealisation and uncritical admiration of EU". He described the EU as an "irreformably undemocratic organisation" and said its response to the migrant crisis was "utterly racist".

The People Before Profit MLA said "scare tactics" around the hardening of the border was typical of the "mistrurths" which the pro-EU camp had adopted during referendum campaign. He also dismissed the notion that customs posts would appear at border crossings once Brexit became a reality.

"This (customs posts) is not going to happen – there is zero possibility of that happening and yet the scare tactics of the Remain camp continue even after the result is in," he said.

"What I say and what the Stormont executive should be saying to the British government is: 'Oi! see that customs post on the border, we won't stand for it; the people won't stand for it'."

He rejected the suggestion that customs checks could be imposed against the will of people along the border.

"The idea that we have no agency in this, that the ordinary people have to stand and be spectators to this decision which they tells us is going to affect our lives intimately – People Before Profit find that offensive," he said.

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