Sunday 25 September 2016

Brexit would force Border clampdown, warns Osborne

John Mulgrew

Published 07/06/2016 | 02:30

George Osborne pictured at Belfast Harbour with members of the NI Stronger In campaign group. The UK Chancellor has warned of a return to a border clampdown between Northern Ireland and the Republic if Britain leaves the EU. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
George Osborne pictured at Belfast Harbour with members of the NI Stronger In campaign group. The UK Chancellor has warned of a return to a border clampdown between Northern Ireland and the Republic if Britain leaves the EU. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire

UK Chancellor George Osborne has warned of a return to a border clampdown between Northern Ireland and the Republic if Britain leaves the EU.

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He also claimed that Northern Ireland's farmers were likely to face huge cuts to the billions they receive in subsidies from the EU.

Speaking during a sunny tour of the busy Warrenpoint Harbour in Co Down, he reinforced his warnings of a return to border checkpoints in the event of a Brexit.

Mr Osborne has already said a Brexit would trigger a "profound economic shock" in Northern Ireland and result in an inevitable hardening of the Border.

"I'm here at Warrenpoint and it's a very practical demonstration of the fact that Northern Ireland has the only land border (in the UK) with an EU country.

"If we were to quit the EU, then jobs would be lost. I think Northern Ireland would be particularly hard hit. You would have a hardening of the Border.

"You only have to listen to the businesses at the port here, telling us that jobs would be lost and their futures would be uncertain."

He continued: "If we quit the EU, this is going to be the Border with the EU.

"There would have to be a hardening of the Border, imposed by the British Government or, indeed, by the Irish Government, and that would have an impact on business."

Warrenpoint Harbour handles a range of industry imports and exports, with vast piles of wood stacked in and around the estate. It also deals in a huge volume of cement exports and recently began work on a £2.5m expansion with Quinn Cement.

Farmers

Mr Osborne warned that farmers could be among the worst hit if the UK left the EU, adding that it was unlikely that Westminster would be able to match the almost £2bn (€2.5bn) Northern Ireland received in a seven-year period from Europe.

"Close to 90pc of farming incomes here come from EU support payments," he said.

"What would happen if we left? The whole country would have less money."

Irish Independent

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