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Coveney caught on tape saying Ireland could be forced to introduce border checks on goods after no-deal Brexit

Simon Coveney
Simon Coveney

Tanaiste Simon Coveney has admitted that there could be a need for checks on goods crossing from the UK to the Republic of Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The Irish Foreign Minister made the comments to Transport Minister Shane Ross following a press briefing. The pair did not realise that their microphones were still on.

The Irish Independent reports that Mr Coveney is heard telling Mr Ross that checks will have to be introduced following a no-deal Brexit, but warned him not to talk about the plans in public.

He told the Transport Minister that it was too early to get into exactly where the checks would be "at this stage".

"But once you start talking about checks anywhere near the border, people will start delving into that and all of a sudden we'll be the Government that reintroduced a physical border on the island of Ireland," Mr Coveney said.

He did admit that the checks "could be at sea".

Mr Ross had previously told the media that he anticipated "there would be checks" on goods crossing from the UK into Ireland, before being interrupted by Mr Coveney.

The Independent TD was heard asking Mr Coveney "should I not have said that?"

After Mr Coveney told him it was too early to discuss it, Mr Ross was heard saying "yeah, but I didn't know what to say".

However, the Tanaiste denied that the Irish government were planning border checks.

"We are not planning to put checks on the Border," he told the Irish Independent.

"Essentially what I was saying to Shane was 'yes there needs to be some checks, potentially at sea, which is consistent with the backstop approach.

"But I was not suggesting the Irish government has some other plan to construct border infrastructure because we don't."

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