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EU officials 'not against open border with Republic of Ireland'

By Colm Kelpie

Published 13/01/2017

European customs officials are open to plans by Irish tax officials to continue the free flow of traffic across the border in the event of a hard Brexit, it has emerged
European customs officials are open to plans by Irish tax officials to continue the free flow of traffic across the border in the event of a hard Brexit, it has emerged

European customs officials are open to plans by Irish tax officials to continue the free flow of traffic across the border in the event of a hard Brexit, it has emerged.

A senior source at the Revenue Commissioners said Irish officials were having "encouraging" talks with the European Commission about the need for minimum disruption to normal traffic if customs procedures have to be put in place.

Random mobile checks would have to be carried out, but the Revenue does not expect the need for an increase in enforcement staff patrolling the border.

As the border will become an EU frontier post-Brexit, getting Brussels' backing for any plans will be crucial.

"Cameras and electronics will be part of it," a Revenue source said. "In principle, we think we can operate a system which will facilitate commercial trade without interfering with normal private traffic."

Private vehicles will be able to travel freely across the border, but will still be subject to occasional spot checks.

Each adult entering the Republic from outside the EU is currently allowed a duty-free goods allowance of £375, meaning southern shoppers could continue to cross the border without having to declare relatively small purchases on their return.

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