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Ireland: Living on the border of Brexit

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Ireland: Living on the border of Brexit

Ireland: Living on the border of Brexit
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Farmer John Sheridan drives up and down rambling country lanes, from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic and back every day.

The higher you build your barriers, the taller I become

John Sheridan Irish Farmer

There's no sign he is crossing an international frontier.

And concern has been mounting for him since the referendum about whether there will be a return to customs duties, vehicle checks and all the other apparatus that has vanished over the past few decades. 

For him it's a lot more complicated than just having to show your passport.

'Maybe it helps people's mental capability of when they see a gate, they can think of something open and closed on a border. We can put a gate anywhere. But the good thing about gates is that they can be opened.'

For many in living on the border, it revives memories of a troubled past.

So news today that an agreement between the UK and the EU has been reached will come as a relief to them.

The Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar sounded upbeat about the extent of the deal.

'First of all, the good Friday agreement in all it's parts is protected. Secondly, everyone born in Northern Ireland will continue to have the right the Irish and therefore EU citizenship. So a child born in Belfast or Derry today will still have the right to study in Paris, to buy property in Spain, to work in Berlin or any other parts of the European Union. Third, the common travel area will continue, allowing us to travel freely between Britain and Ireland. British and Irish citizens will continue to have the freedom to live, work, study, access healthcare, pensions and welfare in each other's countries as though we were citizen's of both. The fifth, the United Kingdom is committed to avoiding a hard border as an overarching requirement with which any future arrangements muct be compatible. There will be no physical infrastructure or related checks or controls.'

Few people in Britain were thinking about the border when they voted to leave the European Union, but it was the only thing on Mona Flood's mind, who remembers the difficulties of crossing over every day.

'They weren't supposed to search a woman, unless they has a lady on customs, especially if they had a pram. But they searched it too and they'd take drink off you!

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Details of the agreement struck are still thin on the ground, and although the Irish Prime Minister hinted that Northern Ireland will be the winners in this, border folk won't stop worrying that a big and unwanted change is coming down the line.