“I don’t know what The Backstop is!”

“I don’t know what “The Backstop” is??”  You’re not alone, it seems that most of the politicians in  Westminster don’t either. tracker mortgageNorthern Ireland voted against Brexit wit 56% of the population in opposition. Brexit  is looming and as the potential for a no deal exit becomes a greater risk the chances of a hard border between the north and south of Ireland grow.  In 2017 an artist based in northern Ireland used the art of jogging to highlight to the potential difficulties a hard border would cause.  Aleks Stanek, a graduate of fine art ran 2oo miles of invisible Irish border over 7 days. Originally from Poland, living in Ireland since the age of 11, she completed the run in a week by criss-crossing the border 17 times showing the freedom currently afforded  at the border and highlighting  the approaching absurdity of potential restrictions to free movement after Brexit. Art and health have long been at the core of human interest. The need for meaning and relevance in daily life has long been accepted as the fundamental motivation in artistic creation and enjoyment. Art helps people communicate experiences that are too difficult or elusive to express in words.  There are physical and mental benefits from producing art and expressing yourself in a material way (Stuckey e Nobel, 2010).

The true implications of a hard border seems lost on the politicians in London. The border is currently only marked by changes in road surface and the confusing calculation of changing miles into kilometres. The way in which the border runs means there is divisions halfway through roads and fields, cutting through herds of cattle,  dividing communities and replacing bridges built in the last 25 years with the barriers. Almost thirty years after the iron curtain fell, and in an age in which globalisation is supposedly tearing barriers down we are building walls and borders at a rate unequalled in history provoked by the illusion of security.

Aleks set off from Bridgend   a small village on the Inishowen peninsula in County Donegal on July 22nd 2017. It is located on the road to Letterkenny, on the western outskirts of Derry and at the border. She crossed the border seventeen times with the longest single day run being an impressive 44 mile effort to finish in Warrenpoint County Down. Each time she crossed the border Aleks buried makeshift monuments of broken Belfast bricks and ash tree seeds native to Ireland – the bricks representing industries in Ireland and the trees referring to a physical border and a border in people’s minds. Although history tells us they are  destined to crumble, we have always built walls. There is almost always a way through, under, over or around. Borders and walls aim to separate and divide   but as Janet Napolitano, former US secretary of homeland security to Obama observed “Show me a 50ft wall, and I’ll show you a 51ft ladder.”

References

STUCKEY, H. L.; NOBEL, J. The connection between art, healing, and public health: a review of current literature. Am J Public Health, v. 100, n. 2, p. 254-63, Feb 2010. ISSN 0090-0036.

 

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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