Up to 100 demonstrators gathered outside Leinster House in Dublin on Monday morning to protest against British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to Dublin.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar met with Mr Johnson at Government Buildings in Dublin.
The protest was led by Seamus McDonnell from Co Armagh who chanted: “No customs, no border, no Brexit.”
Sinn Fein councillor Dessie Ellis said: “We’re here today to protest against Boris Johnson’s visit to Dublin.
“We want to send out a strong message that we will not stand for a hard border or any border.
“There are people from all around the country here to tell him that today, but particularly from the border region,” Mr Ellis added.
“People living in the border region will suffer immensely if a border comes back so the Taoiseach needs to stand strong, stand his ground and give that message from the Irish people.
“I think this visit from Boris Johnson is all about the optics. I would be very surprised if he delivers anything because he has been spoofing all throughout his negotiations with the EU, so why is he going to treat the Irish government any differently?” he said.
Protester Fergal Donnelly, from Co Tyrone, said Mr Johnson “is hell bent on pursuing a no-deal Brexit”.
“Our message is Ireland will not be collateral damage. Boris Johnson can pursue his own strategies in his own country but we are not going to be dragged out of the EU.
“Safety and prosperity for citizens north and south of the border won’t be compromised while we are here,” Mr Donnelly said.
Protester Marie Barry, from Co Cork, said: “I believe Boris Johnson is using our city as a commute stop to try and convince the people across the water in England that he is trying to get them a deal. He is not. He is lying through his teeth.
“It is disgraceful how he is behaving and we don’t want any kind of border back,” she said.
Sarah Franklin said she joined the protest because she felt it was important to avoid any sort of border between Ireland and the UK: “I came out here to protest today because it is important we don’t have a hard border or a soft border or in the Irish sea. A hard border will throw us back into the dark ages,” she said.
“Nobody here wants to see a return to violence. We were successful in bringing peace to Ireland so if we have a hard border we will have a descent into violence and crime and not a citizen on this island wants that,” Ms Franklin said.
“It is important we don’t let Boris Johnson, and what remains of his Government, to ride roughshod over us here in Dublin.”
The Prime Minister, in Dublin for talks with Irish premier Leo Varadkar, said he believed it was possible to secure an agreement ahead of the UK’s scheduled withdrawal at the end of October.
However, Mr Varadkar said that while Ireland was open to alternative solutions to the Northern Ireland backstop, they had yet to see any “legally workable” proposals from the UK.
- Press Association