Fears grow concerning the re-introduction of Irish border controls

The increasing prospect of a hard Brexit deal for the UK heightens the prospects of the Irish border being re-established in a very meaningful way.

This is according to Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, who said this is the last thing we need.

“All political parties and lobby groups must act to ensure that the island of Ireland is not disadvantaged by the Brexit deal eventually arrived at,” he said.

McConalogue cited the need for the continuation of free trade throughout the island as a key priority for the agri sectors.

This is particularly the case, where dairy is concerned, where we already have the cross-border movement of milk taking pace on a daily basis.

“The re-introduction of border controls would have a devastating impact on this trade,” he said.

The Fianna Fail representative highlighted the dangers associated with the UK doing trade deals, post-Brexit, with countries that could not meet the same quality and traceability standards now regarded as the norm for the Irish agri-food sectors.

“There must be full equivalence of standards, where these matters are concerned.

“To have it any other way would put the Irish food industry at a significant disadvantage when it comes to servicing the UK market,” he said.

McConalogue said that the special status of Ireland – north and south – must be fully recognised within any Brexit deal.

“And the Irish government has a key role to play in making sure this is achieved.”

Meanwhile Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes says a hard border will have to be established between Northern Ireland and the Republic if the UK leaves the Customs Union.

He was speaking in the European Parliament where Brexit was a hot topic of discussion again this week during its plenary debate.

Hayes also believes that the Irish State could have to pay an extra €138m to the European Union to compensate for the UK’s budgetary contributions, once the British exit talks are completed.