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DIVERSE CITY

Celebrating Newry's new residents and our new neighbours.

A new permanant section on Newry.ie brought to you with the support of the Community Relations Council

 

It has dominated the news for almost three years and in recent weeks, ahead of the former March 29 deadline, coverage went into overdrive and oversaturation, leading to almost Brexit fatigue amongst many.

But the serious concerns remain; how any form of Brexit will impact economically, and the possible return of a border as part of new customs checks arrangements.

Samanta Incenberga from Latvia now living in Newry
Samanta Incenberga from Latvia now living in Newry

However, for members of the various new nationalities that have made Newry and Mourne their home in recent years, the concerns are different.

Currently, citizens of EU member states have an automatic and unrestricted right to work throughout the EU.

That all ends post Brexit.

But the future of EU citizens living in the UK remains unclear.

The British government's Brexit withdrawal deal offers temporary guarantees for EU citizens living there.

It enables them to keep their current freedom of movement and other EU citizenship rights until December 2020 when the Brexit 'transition' period ends.

After that, no one knows.

So what is the mood amongst Newry's new residents regarding Brexit?

Samanta Incenberga left Latvia to live here just two months ago.

The 21-year-old works in the Polska store on Hill Street.

"I'm not really concerned about Brexit," says Samanta.

Piotr Bayor and Krzystof Galebiewski, both from Poland,
Piotr Bayor and Krzystof Galebiewski, both from Poland,

"But all Latvians are afraid about what they need to come back to Latvia from the UK, because the law in Latvia has changed because of Brexit and if a citizen of Latvia is coming back for holidays to Latvia, they need to pay more to get back.

"My friends and family are worried because people living in Ireland now can't just arrive back home to see them.

Buzea Ioneld  and her children from Romania
Buzea Ioneld and her children from Romania

"But I don't know if anyone from Latvia is thinking about returning home because of Brexit. They might go to another country, but I don't think they will go back to Latvia because no one wants to go to Latvia. I'm hoping to stay here for a long time. I like it here because people are very kind. It's different in Latvia because everyone is sad, but here, everyone smiles."

Ionela Buzea from Romania has been living in Bessbrook for five years.

"I'm not worried about it," she says.

"Some people are, but I'm not. If I go, I go, if I stay I stay. I want to stay. Everybody wants to stay. We'll see what happened."

Mihaela Mocanu, also from Romania but living in Newry, said: "I don't like listening to news about Brexit because I think it's not ok for people who came here. I wish there was no Brexit. I want to stay here because I am happy; the kids go to school here, my husband works here. This is my home now.

Mocanu  with kids Paul and Mihaezn from Romania. Photograph: NewRayPics.com
Mihaela Mocanu with kids Paul and Mihaezn from Romania. Photographs: NewRayPics.com

"I'm very worried that we might have to go home. I don't want to go home, but if they make me go home, what can I do?"

Piotr Bayor from Poland has been living and working in Newry for eight years.

He has no intention of leaving.

"I like it here," he says.

"I like the people here. I don't like Brexit and I will stay here after Brexit. There may be many people going back home. Lots of Polish people living in England have already gone back to Poland because they're worried about Brexit, so we'll see what happens, but I am staying."

Krzystof Galebiewski, also from Poland, added: "I'm not worried about Brexit. I am applying for Irish citizenship. I want to stay here."

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