Monday 16 September 2019

Hard Border will be enforced once UK moves to make its own trade deals

No-deal Brexit could 'potentially wipe out' beef sector, farmers say

‘Nobody wants it’: Leo Varadkar is anxious about the Border. Picture: Arthur Carron
‘Nobody wants it’: Leo Varadkar is anxious about the Border. Picture: Arthur Carron

Kevin Doyle and Ciaran Moran

A hard Border now looks inevitable as soon as Britain moves to strike trade deals with countries outside the EU.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted that once the UK government changes its customs rules and regulations, this island will "get into real difficulties".

The Irish Government continues to insist it has not carried out any planning for physical infrastructure at the Border.

But there are mounting fears that while some initial leeway may be offered in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the EU and World Trade Organisation would ultimately demand checks on animals and food moving between the North and the Republic.

Nobody in the Irish Government has been able to explain how checks could take place without a physical Border.

The European Commission has already clearly stated that in the event of a disorderly Brexit "every consignment of live animals and animal products coming from the UK would have to undergo checks in border inspection posts at the point of entry to the EU".

The rising prospect of a hard Border and checks on livestock moving between the Republic and the North would be a disaster for the country's beef sector, Joe Healy, president of the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA), has warned.

"If the UK crashes out next March, we are facing a far more serious situation and the potential wipe-out of beef production in this country," said Mr Healy. The Irish meat-processing sector employs more than 13,000 people.

The IFA is now putting pressure on the Taoiseach and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed to outline the programme of supports for Irish farmers in the event a 'no-deal' Brexit.

Irish Independent

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