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Lord Empey claims Republic may have to introduce border checks in no-deal Brexit


Lord Empey

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar may have to introduce border checks in the Republic of Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit, an Ulster Unionist Peer has said.

Lord Empey made the comments after Mr Varadkar called for regulatory checks at sea ports in Belfast and Larne in a no-deal scenario, in order to ensure frictionless trade across the border.

He said the Government's no-deal plan suggested treating Northern ireland differently from Great Britain in terms of tariffs and checks.

"That opens up the potential to have the checks at the ports in Larne and Belfast, which is the logical place to have them of course, not on the land border," he added.

Lord Empey said the Irish premier's comments are "proof" Dublin is facing the prospect of having to enforce EU external borders in the event of a no-deal exit.

“The Taoiseach conceded a few weeks ago that the Republic had made no preparations for border checks. It is well known that no Irish government could erect a border and hope to survive," he said.

"However, having thrown in his lot with the EU 27, they will require him to protect the single market by enforcing EU borders, which we all know he can't! Hence Leo's dilemma.

“Leo's latest wheeze is to ask the UK to enforce his border! The Taoiseach said over the weekend that 'the UK still has obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, you still committed to full regulatory alignment back in December 2017 and we still want the arrangements in the backstop to apply.'

“In other words, Dublin wants to have border checks at Belfast and Larne, thus moving the border to the Irish Sea and separating Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.

“Of course he does, because he and his colleagues have played the green card from the beginning, but now it risks backfiring. He should have been open to discussing with London and Belfast ways of handling things on the island, but he refused."

The Taoiseach is meeting with the EU's chief negotiator on Monday in Dublin to discuss Brexit developments.

The talks come prior to the meeting of the EU27 on Wednesday when European leaders will discuss Theresa May's request for a further Brexit extension.

Belfast Telegraph