Current Affairs Military Politics

Freedom Of Information Request Reveals Count Of Cross-Border Roads Is Underway

If the United Kingdom is serious about not wanting to see the return of a “hard border” or militarised frontier around the UK-administered Six Counties, making an official count of the number of roads crossing into the disputed region is an odd way to go about it. According to press reports, in the autumn of 2017 officials from the local Department for Infrastructure in Belfast requested the assistance of their counterparts with the national Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Dublin to list all cross-border routes into the north-east of the country. That request was agreed to in September and is expected to report between April and June of this year. Though it has been estimated that there are 275 road crossings on the 500 km long partition line, that figure is almost certainly a conservative one if smaller tracks, greenways and private routes are included. In contrast to Britain’s legacy territory in Ireland, there are only 137 crossing points situated on the whole of the European Union’s eastern frontier, a multinational border which stretches for over 6,000 km.

9 comments on “Freedom Of Information Request Reveals Count Of Cross-Border Roads Is Underway

  1. Garret Carr walked the border recently; in ‘The Rule of the Land’ he counted 77 unofficial crossing points.

    While in the past there were 12 – 15 ‘approved’ crossing points, other roads were ‘unapproved’.

    It seems likely that there will have to be some sort of Customs at the border; to check on the ‘unapproved’; roads there will have to be CCTV and ANPR. Perhaps the count is to allow an accurate order for the infrastructure? I’m not sure, though, how governments can plant such stuff on private land.


    • But in some cases the “border” runs through private gardens, farmyards and even buildings. In places it runs along the middle of the road, traffic on one side driving in the north, traffic on the other driving in the south. You can literally do a u-turn in the middle of the road and cross an “international” boundary. Things have gotten far more complex since the late 1990s with people developing, constructing and planning with no thought of the border.

      Where do you put a customs checkpoint in a cross-border house? In the kitchen?

      The whole idea is mad. The Brits are mad. We should be doing nothing to indulge that madness.


      • If you lived in Dundalk, you might like Sunday lunch at the Halfway House or the Carrickcarnon Hotel. To reach either, you take the NI dual carriageway northwards. You then take the off-slip. All this time you are in the ‘south’. On the slip road you cross into the ‘north’ before the T-junction. After turning right, still in the north, you again cross into the south. If, however, instead of taking the off-slip you continue northwards in the inside lane, you will briefly find yourself in the north; perhaps you should stay in the outside lane which, as far as I can see, is in the south at that point.

        Should you live in the south, in Coleman’s Island, the Drummully polyp, you can’t get to it from the south without crossing into the north; I suppose you could swim across the River Finn. Just beside it is an area of the north which can only be accessed via the south; again, you could swim.

        If you lived in Castle Saunderson, which is in the south, and wanted to go to the shops, you would find the front gates are in the north.

        There are so many totally mad examples of the border, it can be hard to know where to start. It’s clear, no matter what British (read: English) politicians say, that this particular border simply can’t be controlled.


  2. Alan Gordon

    Just heard that the EU hàs suspended negotiations with the UK government untill the Irish border issue is settled.
    As Korhomme alluded to this survey of border crossings allows them to order the correct number of widgets, presumably, if left to the Foreign Sec. of the type he used between London buroughs, the Wimbledon and Chelsea type. What an expensively educated clown.


    • Yep, it’s lunacy of the highest order. In a more strategically-minded “republican” State I suppose we would be taking a page out of the Israeli playbook and funding the construction of cross-border houses and factories. As in literally, constructing buildings sitting astride the border.

      Now, there is a thought for republican activists. Cross-border camps or buildings to challenge any future attempt to harden the border. Local people staking out homes on private property purchased to the immediate north and south of the partition line and then building homes on it. You’d only need, what, a dozen cross-border houses spread across several locations to create a cause célèbre?

      Finding the substantial funding and the people who would be interested, plus legal experts, etc. would be the challenge but, Christ, that has got to be better and more likely to yield results that shooting kids in the legs for anti-social behaviour.


      • There is at least one house which is astride the border; Richard Hayward describes in in ‘Border Foray’. The border quite literally runs through the kitchen; you have a choice of sleeping in the north or the south. That one, or perhaps one similarly situated, has two front doors; the postman from the south and the postman from the north both call. I gather that they have had to come to some sort of understanding about the rates, the electricity and the water.


  3. Breandán

    CCTV to monitor Irish people crossing Britain’s border in Ireland. Where do they think they are talking about, two boroughs in their capital city? The locals will take those down the night after they are erected. I have heard people saying this. What will the British do then? Operation Banner II?


    • Can you imagine the Antrim or Down supporters on their way back from an All-Ireland being stopped on the train as they cross the border to be inspected by customs? I’d pity the customs men!


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