AS BORIS Johnson returns from Dublin in a last-ditch bid to secure a deal over the Irish border, pubgoers are sceptical about his efforts.

Johnson insists he can avert post-Brexit checks along the border, which could risk a return to the bloodshed of the Troubles.

But the overriding flavour from Molly Malone’s Irish bar in Brighton, aside from double-poured Guinness, smoothed off with a pencil, is how ignorant English voters are about the sensitivity of the border.

Bartender Cat said: “It’s like a tinderbox. People in London don’t realise how delicate the border is. We’re trying to stop a full-blown civil war. That should be the priority here.

“The consequences of decisions made in Westminster could be violent.”

Cat is happy to speak, but refuses to give her surname. She said: “My mam’s family are from Derry. I don’t want my gran to know I’ve gone over to the dark side, working in an Irish bar in England.”

The Prime Minister has been accused of recklessness in his approach to the Irish border.

After taking office, he snubbed Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar by failing to call him for almost a week.

And last week, Johnson proposed scrapping the Irish backstop – the arrangement to avoid a hard border by keeping Northern Ireland in the single market and the UK in a customs union in Europe. He instead put forward an all-Ireland food standards zone – a suggestion that was batted down by the EU.

Back at a corner table in Molly Malone’s in West Street, Mark Corrigan, 60, was confident a deal could be reached. His family are from Trim, County Meath.

He said: “Both sides want to avoid trouble. If the English and the Irish want that, I’m sure it can be done.

“And after several defeats in the commons for Boris, a no deal looks less likely. The backstop may safeguard against the worst of the damage.

“But it’s not something to take lightly. I remember as a kid growing up in an Irish family in England, I left my schoolbag at the bus stop one day. I’ve got an Irish surname and it was on the tag.

“I came back a few minutes later and there was a big group of police officers surrounding it. They must have thought it was a bomb – I just went over and picked it up.

“No one wants to go back to those times.”

More than 3,500 people were killed during the Troubles – more than half of them civilians. The conflict, which flared up in the late 1960s, was eventually brought to an end after a lengthy peace process. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement promised cross-border co-operation.