Opinion Comment

Monday 18 December 2017

Pursuit of Common Travel Area will turn us into unpaid border guard for UK

Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: PA
Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: PA

Niall Holohan

Theresa May's speech of January 17 has been justifiably described as somewhere between catastrophic and disastrous in its implications for the island of Ireland.

The threat to leave not only the single market but the EU's customs union as well will clearly have hugely damaging consequences for trade in both directions between Britain and Ireland. It will also make the creation of a hard border between the North and the Republic almost inevitable.

It is curious, therefore, that the speech seems to have been welcomed here by some at the highest levels of Government. Presumably, they were seduced by Mrs May's honeyed words referring to the special relationship which exists between the UK and the Republic and her desire to maintain the Common Travel Area (CTA) between our two countries. In my view, however, the CTA is a poisoned chalice that currently offers very few benefits to Ireland.

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