The Irish border and Brexit explained by @BorderIrish

The Irish border has its very own Twitter handle - so we asked it all the things we want to know about Brexit.

The Irish border: on a map and on Twitter
The Irish border: on a map and on Twitter

The 310 mile border cutting through Ireland currently separates the Republic from Northern Ireland.

After Brexit, it will be the only land border separating the UK from the EU.

But it's also the only border in the world (as far as we know) to have its very own Twitter handle.

@BorderIrish arrived on the social media platform in February and has been trolling the Brexit negotiations ever since.

The account has over 55,000 followers, including the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and has even published its own satirical Penguin children's book.

The man behind the account, who wants to remain anonymous, has lived on both sides of the border.

He told Radio 1 Newsbeat that he wanted to inject a bit of humour into Brexit, as well as some much needed facts.

So who better to ask about the history of the border, the backstop and why it's become Theresa May's biggest Brexit headache:

Sorry to ask… but how old are you?

I'm about 97 years old.

I was meant to be temporary when I was invented, but I've been here ever since the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland were established.

I keep them apart, but kind of hold them together too.

So why are we hearing so much about you now?

I've almost disappeared over the years, but now the UK is trying to leave the EU, I'll be the UK's only land border with the EU.

This is very exciting for me, obviously, and involves a lot of time on Duolingo learning Estonian.

But it's also a bit disruptive politically, because it means I might have to be a harder border than I am now.

The actual Irish border: from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, looking across to County Louth, in the Republic of Ireland

A hard border - sounds like your teenage years...

In my early years I was hard because I had customs posts. There were men in uniforms holding up their hands and stopping cars and searching them for food.

Then when the Troubles came in the 1970s, the men in uniform were soldiers and I had heavy checkpoints and army watchtowers.

But now you're soft in your old age?

Slowly, in the 1990s, the Peace Process happened.

When the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 I was able to soften because the violence faded away - mostly.

And being in the EU, along with the Common Travel Area, meant there wasn't much need for any checks on people or things crossing over me.

Now I may be an international border, but I'm so invisible that sometimes I take a day off and no-one notices I'm not there.

Cows and trucks at the border, near Dundalk

Tell us about your new best friend, the backstop?

When Brexit came along and the British government decided it was going to leave the single market and the customs unions the politicians ran around like mad trying to find a way to keep me as I am.

The backstop is like an insurance policy which means that I can't be messed around with.

Not everyone likes it. I didn't want it, but I'd rather have it than not have it.

Theresa May says she wants you to be "smart" in future. Did that hurt your feelings?

That's quite insulting really, isn't it?

I've managed to be here and yet be invisible for 20 years.

And by doing that I've helped keep the peace in Northern Ireland and Ireland.

That's more than smart - that's a miracle.

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra - if you miss us you can listen back here.




Date: 07 December 2018 | Source: BBC

More UK News

Superdry warns worse to come as profits plunge

Fashion retailer considers closing stores amid disappointing sales of winter clothing

Christmas chocolate boxes: Up to half of weight is packaging

The wrapping on your Christmas chocolates could make up almost half their total weight

'Planet of the chickens': How the bird took over the world

With around 23 billion chickens on the planet at any one time, the bird is a symbol of our times, sa..

Parliament 'trespasser' held under Mental Health Act

The man was arrested by armed officers near an entrance to the Palace of Westminster on Tuesday

Theresa May to face vote of no confidence from Tory MPs

Conservative MPs are to vote later on whether or not Theresa May should stay as their leader

Lord Lester resigns from House of Lords

The former Liberal Democrat peer, who was accused of sexual harassment, has resigned his position
View More

More Telford News

 Telford man denies burgling house as couple slept

A couple were burgled while they were asleep at their home in Telford and ..

 Shropshire dairy society worker is jailed for stealing more than £300,000

An accounts assistant has been jailed for three years for stealing more th..

 Telford-based Reconomy unveils Christmas video

Outsourced waste management and recycling company Reconomy has launched it..

 Police in Telford discover hammer and machete inside crash car

Officers on patrol in Telford discovered a hammer and a machete inside a c..

 Local sculptor commissioned to design iconic artwork for Telford Centre

Sculptor Jacob Chandler has been commissioned to design an iconic piece of ..

 Occupants flee stolen car after Telford crash

The occupants of s stolen car fled the scene of a collision in Telford yest..
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

[[countdown here]]
[[countdown here]]

Upcoming Events in Telford

11 Dec 2018

Please refer to the website for timings


Off-Peak (11-20 December & 31 December-6 January)

Adult £18

Child/Concession £16

Family of 4 (minimum 2 children) £62

Rear Tier £10

Groups 10+ £13.50

Peak (22-30 December)

Adult £19

Child/Concession £17

Family of 4 (minimum 2 children) £66

Rear Tier £10

Groups 10+ £14.50

  • Telford Loyalty Card £13 on Sunday 16 December 5.30pm & Wednesday 2 January 2pm
  • BSL Signed Performance Friday 28 December 6.30pm
  • Relaxed Performance Saturday 5 January 11am
View Details

01 Jan 2019

Friday 1 February 7.30pm


Advance: £18

On the door: £20

View Details

06 Jan 2019

6:30pm


Tickets from £10

View Details

11 Jan 2019

Friday 11 January 7.30pm


Adult £15

Child/Concession £14

Family of 4 (minimum 2 children) £52

View Details

16 Jan 2019

7:30pm


Tickets £21.50

View Details
View More