Thursday 21 September 2017

Hard border 'inevitable' if UK leaves customs union

Photo: PA
Photo: PA
Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

A HARD border involving controls between the Republic and the North is inevitable if the UK is outside of the customs union, the ESRI has said.

Dr Kieran McQuinn, research professor with the think tank, said it was quite surprising that in terms of Northern Ireland, the implications of a hard Brexit has not "dawned on people".

"If you have a hard Brexit, if the UK leaves the customs union, it's very, very difficult to see how we won't have a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for a variety of reasons," he said.

He said that under WTO rules, there would be substantial tariffs on beef and dairy products, and there would have to be a hard border of some kind to avoid smuggling.

He said there would have to be some controls in place.

"As you move towards a hard Brexit, and if they're outside the customs union, that makes a hard border inevitable."

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