Belfast Telegraph

PBP's McCann under fire after civil disobedience call over hard Brexit border

Resistance call: Eamonn McCann
Resistance call: Eamonn McCann
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

Firebrand left-wing politician Eamonn McCann is calling for civil disobedience if a hard border is reintroduced, just days after being elected to Derry and Strabane District Council.

McCann - one of two People Before Profit candidates now on the council - said people should actively resist any attempt to introduce a hard border between Londonderry and Donegal.

He said that while he isn't convinced a hard border will be reintroduced, he believed it should be met with resistance - which must be peaceful.

"We are totally against violent protest, which would be counterproductive," he said.

"People are wondering what the British government is going to do, wondering what the Irish government is going to do and wondering what the EU is going to do. But the real question is, what are the people going to do?"

Mr McCann said civil disobedience had been used throughout Irish history as a means of protest - including at civil rights demonstrations 50 years ago.

"So the question is how do you stop this thing and I put my trust in the ordinary people rather than the negotiators or government representatives," he added.

However, East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell said Mr McCann's call was "reckless and dangerous".

He said: "Everyone from Juncker and Varadkar to May have accepted that there will not be any so-called hard border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic," he said.

"The geography and terrain makes it an utter impossibility for such an outcome to materialise.

"A statement as absurd and irresponsible as this about something that isn't going to happen, only serves to exploit genuine fears and inflame tensions."

Mr McCann now represents The Moor area, where dissident republican politician Gary Donnelly topped the poll, two weeks after the New IRA murdered journalist Lyra McKee.

At the time, Mr Donnelly described Ms McKee's murder as "wrong" and called on those responsible to "desist".

Mr McCann said Mr Donnelly's election success had no bearing on the community's abhorrence at Ms McKee death.

"I think that Gary Donnelly's vote was reflective of his reputation as a community worker in the Creggan area," he said.

"I think his condemnation of the killing was a reflection of what he knew the community would want and it is important to remember the level of support for the killing of Lyra McKee was as near zero as to make no difference.

"We shouldn't take the election result as indicating any support whatsoever for the killing of Lyra McKee.

"He condemned that immediately and I take him at his word."

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