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Postponement of PSNI station sales suggest willingness for hard border says SDLP

By Gareth Cross

The PSNI have announced that they are taking three PSNI stations in Irish border areas off the market due to the implications of Brexit.

The announcement was made by Assistant Chief Constable Stephen Martin on Sunday.

Police will no longer be selling the Warrenpoint, Castlederg or Aughnacloy stations.

Last month it was revealed that police were no longer selling the Warrenpoint Station, after Newry, Down and Mourne Council wanted to turn it into a play park.

It was speculated at the time that the centre may be used for some future purpose relating to the Irish border following Brexit.

This week Chief Constable George Hamilton called for extra funding to employ additional PSNI officers when Brexit takes affect.

Assistant Chief Constable Martin did not reveal any planned future use for the stations but said the "PSNI has not yet received details regarding potential border arranagements."

“The PSNI has a responsibility to keep people safe and we constantly review our resources to ensure that we are best equipped to do this," he said.

“In light of the UK Referendum vote to leave the EU, we are reviewing decisions we previously made about some of our stations identified for disposal. Accordingly, it is our intention to pause the disposal of three stations in border areas, namely Warrenpoint, Castlederg and Aughnacloy.

“As the PSNI has not yet received details regarding potential border arrangements, this is a precautionary step to ensure that, whatever Brexit looks like in the future, we will be able to continue to keep our communities safe.”

SDLP Brexit Spokesperson Claire Hanna MLA has said that the postponement of the sales suggests a willingness by some to accept a hard border.

“The postponement of selling these stations in border towns suggests that the possibility of an open border is decreasing, and that is unacceptable," the South Belfast MLA said.

“The British Government continually say that there will be no hard border in Ireland but they have failed time and time again to put a comprehensive plan on the table and this is the outcome of that indecisiveness.

“Any hardening of the border would be a deliberate violation of our political process by the British Government.

“Brexit is a real threat to our way of life. Any suggestion of any border here must be resisted. The socio-economic and the political consequences of a border across Ireland are catastrophic.

“Time is up for the British Government. We can no longer wait on their pandering to hard brexiteers. They must bring a solution urgently to ensure our way of life, and the peace process is protected.”

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