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What happened when British people were asked to draw the Irish border

Channel 4 asked people on the street to draw the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland as part of a report on Brexit.

WITH THE LATEST round of Brexit talks looming, and with a divorce bill of at least €45 billion for the UK, Channel 4 News took to the streets yesterday to gauge the English public’s knowledge of the situation in Northern Ireland.

Equipped with a map of Ireland and a marker, they asked people to draw the line separating Ireland from Northern Ireland but most got it wrong.

The report came in the midst of several weeks of tense relations between Ireland and the UK over the issue of the post-Brexit border in Northern Ireland.

Leo Varadkar and Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney have been strong on the issue of the border, insisting that the talks cannot progress to trade issues until the British give real guarantees that there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

In response, British politicians, and sections of the UK press, have lined up to criticise the Irish approach. This included Labour’s Kate Hoey, who said that Ireland would have to pay for a hard border if there wasn’t a Brexit deal.

“We don’t know too much about it”

With these tensions going on, some members of the public were unable to draw the correct border between the two.

One said: “As a younger generation, we don’t know too much about it. We don’t learn this kind of thing. It’s not something that is taught to be honest. ”

Another said: “I don’t think enough people know about it at the moment. They don’t know the implications of it.

If there’s no border controls between Northern Ireland, we have free movement to Ireland which is in the common travel area… How they’re going to get around it I have no idea.

This man made a stab at drawing a border which cut off Donegal, and sections of a few other northern counties in Ireland.

channel 4 border Channel 4 News Channel 4 News

Another man, who also got the border slightly wrong, said the way the border issue could be fixed would be if Ireland left the EU.

One woman drew a map that cut off half of the country, with places like Galway, Westmeath and Dublin included in Northern Ireland.

She said: “Obviously, they’re separated by water and then to have another hard border with the Republic of Ireland. It would shut a lot of them off I suppose.”

british border 2 Channel 4 News Channel 4 News

Another woman accused Ireland of “just making trouble because they lost”, adding “it’s a bit petty isn’t it really?” and that “the southern Irish have to lump it basically”.

One man, who was fairly accurate with his drawing of the border, said: “Brexit is going to be an utter disaster all the way round… I don’t think they’ve thought this through frankly.”

Iain Duncan Smith

Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith made a faux-pas of his own on Channel 4 News last night when he confidently suggested that Ireland are playing hardball on Brexit because we have a presidential election due next year.

The Brexiteer was asked about the potential for Ireland to veto trade talks with the EU if a border solution hadn’t yet been found.

He said: “A lot of things are in the making on this one. There’s an election going on in Ireland…”

He was interrupted by presenter Cathy Newman, who pointed out that an election was now off the table due to Frances Fitzgerald’s resignation yesterday, but Duncan Smith retorted:

Well no, the presidential election is coming up. And of course the key point about that is that the present government is worried about Sinn Féin so I think there’s a lot of showboating going on in Ireland.

The former Conservative Party leader has been in politics since 1981, but still doesn’t appear to know that our democratically-elected President Michael D Higgins is not a member of the government.

Read: Britain will pay at least €45 billion to leave the EU – reports

Read: ‘I want to stay at the highest level of political life and vindicate my good name’ – Fitzgerald comes out swinging

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