Sunday 22 April 2018

Fianna Fáil councillor calls for hard border post-Brexit to 'protect' Ireland from 'immigration influx'

Emma Coffey pictured with Michael Martin (via Facebook)
Emma Coffey pictured with Michael Martin (via Facebook)
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

A Fianna Fáil councillor has called for a hard border post-Brexit saying she believes such a scenario is "inevitable" and preparations have to be made to bring in immigration controls.

In a statement, reported by the Dundalk Democrat, Louth councillor Emma Coffey, said: "I am calling for a hard border to be implemented to protect our local and national economy and to protect the influx migration entering Europe in my country, Europe's back door."

Ms Coffey also said Fianna Fáil should "call it as it is, and state that a hard border must be implemented to protect not just our national integrity but also our rights as European citizens".

She said Fianna Fáil should "be the party who are prepared for the best solution for Ireland in the worst possible scenario of the Brexit debacle".

Cllr Emma Coffey last night acknowledged that her party's position is that a hard border should be avoided.

But she said the "elephant in the room"is that manned border posts will be necessary for the checking of passports of non-EU citizens, as exist in airports.

Ms Coffey initially made her remarks in a statement where she criticised the government claiming they have failed to 'Brexit-proof' Ireland.

And she argued that recent statements by both sides of the talks between the UK and EU "puts Ireland in a position that a hard border is inevitable".

The Louth councillor said: "it is time to face reality head on and plan for its impact on our future."

Last night Ms Coffey said she was pointing out the "practical reality" that there are going to have to be manned controls on the border.

She said that while she would prefer for a hard border to be avoided  the scenario "is going to fall on the border counties whether we like it or not and we should be in a position where our leaders and our government is preparing for that".

A Fianna Fáil spokesman said "Fianna Fáil's position on this could not be clearer - we are opposed to the imposition of a hard border and the reintroduction of customs controls."

He added: "We have been calling for the creation of a Special Economic Zone in Northern Ireland in order to prevent the imposition of a hard border.

"Fianna Fáil will continue to push the Government on this issue and work with our colleagues in the EU to prevent the emergence of a hard border.”

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