UK-Ireland customs centres plan criticised

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

UK-Ireland customs centres plan criticised

Related tags Uk Ireland Brexit Livestock

A plan to introduce customs posts a few miles on each site of the Northern Irish border has been heavily criticised.

As reported by Irish state broadcaster RTE, UK proposals for the Irish borders involved customs posts being erected on both sides of the border, but located five to ten miles from the actual border.

RTE reported the details of the proposals from technical papers sent from London to Brussels.

Irish Farmers Association (IFA) president Joe Healy has said that the proposal is not a credible alternative to the Backstop stating that the ‘Customs Clearance Centres’ are border posts under a different name.

“The purpose of the Backstop is to act as a fallback in the event that a future trade deal cannot address the NI Border issue to the UK and EU’s satisfaction,”​ said Healy. “This latest proposal is an attempt to put lipstick on a pig.  A customs post is a customs post, no matter what is called or where it’s located.

“The Irish Government should reject this CCC proposal and stick with the Backstop which, after all, was agreed by the EU and the UK Government in the Joint Report of December 2017, when Boris Johnston was Foreign Secretary.”

The IFA wasn’t the only one to pour cold water on the idea. On Twitter, Irish Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney said: “Non-Paper = Non-Starter. Time the EU had a serious proposal from the UK Govt if a #Brexit deal is to be achievable in October. NI and IRE deserves better!”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar added: “People in the Republic of Ireland do not want a customs border between north and south.

“People in Northern Ireland don't want a customs border between north and south and no British government should seek to impose customs posts between the Republic of Ireland and the north of Ireland against the will of the people in Northern Ireland and the people in the Republic of Ireland.

“They are saying 'no' to customs posts between north and south. We are saying 'no' to customs posts between north and south. And no British government should try to impose on Ireland a solution opposed by people north and south.”

Speaking on the BBC, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that these proposals were different to the ones that would actually be put forward.

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