‘Politicians only interested when there’s a photoshoot’

WITH THE future of the border currently hanging in the balance, the people of Fermanagh are feeling used and abandoned by politicians in the Brexit negotiations. 
While the proposed transition deal includes a widely welcomed backstop for the North, which would prevent a hard border, the DUP and others strongly opposing the deal, and it seems unlikely it will pass. If it doesn’t, a no deal Brexit could be on the cards. 
Over the past couple of weeks the Herald has spoken to various members of our border communities, and who are terrified by the prospect of no deal. 
Pettigo man Donal Monaghan said people in his community are extremely concerned and feel they have been abandoned by politicians.
“We don’t really feel anybody is too worried about us,” said Mr Monaghan. “I know Theresa May mentioned Pettigo in her party conference speech but I don’t think we really believe there’s much support for us out there.”
He continued: “The smaller communities really have been forgotten about, until there’s a photo opportunity. Then you’ll see the politicians. Other than that we don’t feel on any level that anybody is out there fighting for us.”
Mr Monaghan added: “I think unless you’re living here it doesn’t mean as much.”
Border farmer John Sheridan expressed a similar  sentiment: “You really have to be in that border zone, or 10 mile each side of it, to really understand it.”
Mr Sheridan said struggling farmers and business would be decimated by any loss of access to EU export markets in the event of a no-deal Brexit.  
“We cannot weather any storm, there’s no fat on anyone’s back to take anything wrong at all,” said the Florencecourt man. “You see yourself what a wee bit of adverse weather does, well by heavens there’s a hurricane coming economically.” 
He added: “The politicians are not thinking of the people, they’re only thinking of themselves. This is an atrocity on people.”
In Belleek, Pauline Gilmartin said many in the community felt they were being used as part of a game by the politicians. 
“There is still a little bit of disbelief that this could ever possibly come to pass. It’s just very difficult to see a way around it,” she said. “They’re not listening. I don’t know what’s going through their heads. It’s just a very bizarre situation while we’re all just trying to get on and earn a crust and live our daily lives.” 

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