A new ‘Border Force’ recruitment drive is being seen as the latest sign that the British government is planning to impose a hard border across Ireland after Brexit, and the manner of its implementation is in line with the extreme right-wing policies of the British government’s Home Office.
Britain is due to leave the European Union on 29 March 2019. Hundreds of jobs are now being advertised as part of a recruitment campaign for a force which could become the advance guard for a remilitarisation of the border area.
Those suspicions were reinforced when the jobs were advertised for ‘British passport holders only’ -- an advertisement which is in itself illegal in the north of Ireland.
The British government explained that this was “due to the sensitive nature of the work” which “requires special allegiance to the Crown”.
Despite the begrudging withdrawal of the ‘British only’ policy later in the week, fears that the Brexit border will become a unionist frontier have been reinforced.
Sinn Fein’s Newry and Armagh representative Conor Murphy said the drive showed the Tories see a hard border as the predetermined outcome of the Brexit negotiations despite the fact they have already agreed to avoid it.
He said: “There can be no Tory-DUP Brexit border across Ireland. This is a deeply damaging, disruptive and dangerous position, rejected overwhelmingly by the people of this island.”
British plans to avoid a hard border were rubbished by EU negotiators at a meeting on Wednesday as unworkable. London was also warned of the need for “full compliance” with rules on agricultural products, livestock and other animals, if it wanted to prevent customs barriers.
British Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Office Minister Amber Rudd had spent much of this week addressing the ‘Windrush’ scandal, which erupted after it emerged some elderly Caribbean immigrants and their children had been illegally deported or detained. Some had received instructions to try to ‘mix in’ by putting on a local accent.
Stella Creasy, a British Labour MP, said there was the risk of “enormous damage” to the peace process in Ireland if Brexit is mishandled.
“No trickery is going to get Theresa May or her government out of the hole they have dug for themselves in ruling out continued membership of the customs union and the single market,” she said.