The proposal for clearance centres at the border has been blasted by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) that describes it as “border posts under a different name”.

The IFA’s president, Joe Healy, said: “The proposal by the UK to install ‘Custom Clearance Centres’ at both sides of the border is not a credible alternative to the backstop.

These ‘Customs Clearance Centres’ are border posts under a different name.

“The purpose of the backstop is to act as a fallback in the event that a future trade deal cannot address the NI border issue to the UK and EU’s satisfaction.

“This latest proposal is an attempt to put lipstick on a pig.

A customs post is a customs post, no matter what it is called or where it’s located.

Concluding, the IFA president warned: “The Irish Government should reject this CCC proposal and stick with the backstop which, after all, was agreed by the EU and the UK Government in the Joint Report of December 2017, when Boris Johnston was foreign secretary.”

Trading regulations ‘up in the air’

The IFA’s statement comes following yesterday’s Brexit seminar where it was outlined that regulations on north/south agri trading post Brexit are still ongoing and the future terms and conditions “remain up in the air”.

Speaking at a Brexit seminar titled: ‘Practical Steps to keep Agri-Food Trade Moving’, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s superintending veterinary inspector Ronan Halpin explained: “When agri-food products come in from a third country, they have to be presented at a border control post.”

He noted that this is already the case in ports such as Dublin and Rosslare; however, he stressed: “What happens with regards a north/south border is subject to the ongoing discussions.”