Sunday 25 August 2019

'We will keep an open border,' says UK's Brexit secretary, as Flanagan dismisses PSNI criticism

Mr Davis told the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee
that the government was “determined” to keep an open border, with no fences and no checkpoints. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Mr Davis told the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee that the government was “determined” to keep an open border, with no fences and no checkpoints. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Tom Brady

Tom Brady

The UK's Brexit Secretary David Davis has said he is "optimistic" about maintaining an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Mr Davis (below) told the House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee that the British government was "determined" to keep an open border, with no fences and no checkpoints, dismissing suggestions that this would create a route into the UK for people trying to evade post-Brexit immigration controls.

He said the European Commission's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and the Irish Government shared this goal, making an agreement likely.

He said that one possible model for the future border was the very lightly controlled border between Sweden and Norway - which was outside the EU and the European Customs Union but part of the Single Market.

Meanwhile, criticism of immigration checks on this side of the border were dismissed by Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.

The controversial remarks were made by the PSNI chief constable, George Hamilton, who alleged that international criminals were entering the UK through here.

But Ms O'Sullivan said gardaí worked very closely with the PSNI and with the border agencies and one of the key strands of the joint agency task force was centred on illegal immigration.

Meanwhile, Mr Flanagan said he believed the chief constable's remarks were not well founded.

Relations between the forces were now at the best level ever and the issue of border controls was one of the challenges facing the Republic when the UK withdrew from the EU, he said.

Irish Independent

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