FORMER Irish president Mary McAleese has sounded a stern warning about the dangers of a Brexit-caused border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

McAleese, the President of Ireland during the peace process, speaks today on the Alex Salmond Show on RT. She told the former First Minister of Scotland of her fears for the future of the peace process and of her hopes that the UK will rejoin the European Union in the future.

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“I described Brexit as trying to pull a tooth with 10,000 roots,” said McAleese. “It’s very messy.”

McAleese pulls no punches in her warning: “One of the most obvious consequences of our peace process is that the militarised hard border between North and South that we used to have has evaporated. The only way you know when you have crossed the border is when Vodafone pings you to tell you that you have crossed an international border.

“After the Good Friday Agreement, we have enjoyed a period of calm and peace with relatively little violence and we have managed to cut the umbilical cord between public support and the paramilitaries. Now my worry is of course that some of the paramilitaries, the smaller operations have not gone away, they do not enjoy public support, but give them a cause and that cause could be a camera on a border, it could be a mobile patrol on a border, because here’s the thing, we now enjoy a completely open and free border - after Brexit whatever we get will be less than that.”

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The former President re-states her commitment to Europe as a cause and its importance to the political, economic and social development of Ireland.

“Here’s what really excited me,” she says. “It excited me that when Ireland joined the European Union voluntarily - I used to joke it was the only union we joined voluntarily, we didn’t join the United Kingdom voluntarily - but we sat around the European table with our former imperial colonising masters and we sat as friends, we sat as partners, as neighbours and over a period of time we took all the vanities of history and over two or three generations we dismantled them and were able to offer our children something really humanly decent.”

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McAleese hopes that Brexit could be reversed at some point in the future: “I will always be a believer in the fundamental integrity of the European project and my plea to those who are in positions of leadership is to never lose sight of that great project and there may come a time, I like to think there will come a time, when Britain, after it leaves the European Union, would think again and rejoin this remarkable adventure in democratic politics.

“The dead hand of bureaucracy can sometimes take the gloss off dreams but so too can amnesia, so too can forgetting what this was always about for Europe was also about peace as well as prosperity and for Ireland it has helped to secure both for us.”