The national award ceremony took place in the Garage Theatre, Monaghan Town on Friday 14th July.
Since 2008, this prestigious award has recognised projects and initiatives that facilitate cross-border cooperation or promote mutual understanding and EU values. Border Communities Against Brexit was nominated for the prize by Matt Carthy MEP, Liadh Ní Riada MEP, Lynn Boylan MEP, Marian Harkin MEP and Nessa Childers MEP.
Martina Anderson MEP said “Border communities against Brexit stretches along the partitioned border of Ireland and represent a range of sectors including representatives from vulnerable adults, to SMEs, Hoteliers, Farmers and the Tourism sector.
For a group established less than one year they have lobbied extensively engaging with key players in Brussels, Leinster House, the Assembly, Westminster and Councils. They have reached thousands of Europeans, being interviewed by reporters across the EU.
They adhere to the democratic mandate expressed by the 52% of people of the north who voted to remain in the EU; they seek to preserve the Good Friday Agreement in all of its parts; they do not want any hardening of the border in Ireland and they have called for the EU to afford the north special status to remain within the EU.
It is an honour for Sinn Féin to promote the work undertaken by this relatively small but hugely effective group which deserved the accolade of EU citizens Award.
MEP Matt Carthy said:
“Border Communities Against Brexit have played a key role in opposing British Tory determination to drag the North of Ireland out of the EU against the democratically expressed wishes of the people there. They have been instrumental in bringing together the key sectors that will be negatively impacted by any Brexit induced hardening of the Irish border – businesses, workers, farmers and civic society.
“The prize giving ceremony was a perfect chance for people across the border region to highlight our thanks to BCAB for their work to date but also to send a powerful message that our concerns regarding Brexit remain as live as ever”.
BCAB is a group of local representatives from a range of business, community and farming sectors established with the purpose of countering the imposition of a hard border on the island of Ireland because of Brexit negotiations.
The group is works on both sides of the border, from Derry to Louth, and is an example of solidarity between communities that will be impacted in different but equally damaging ways by the removal of one side from the European Union. Principles associated with joint membership of the EU such as mutual recognition of standards, freedom of movement, freedom of establishment, the right to access another jurisdiction’s public services and tariff-free trade have all gone a long way towards easing the everyday life of border communities. The group campaigns against the loss of farm incomes, PEACE funding and trade and investment, as well as barriers to third level education and the hardships for all people needing to cross the border on a daily basis. They have succeeded in mobilising hundreds of local communities in highlighting the forgotten frontier of the Brexit battle.
BCAB will join the winners from around the European Union at a joint event in Brussels on 11 October.
Compliments of the European Parliament