Belfast Telegraph

Carlingford ferry 'will become a booze cruise' in event of no-deal Brexit

Carlingford Lough
Carlingford Lough

By Cate McCurry

The Carlingford Lough ferry will become a "booze cruise" in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a committee in the Republic has heard.

Fianna Fail's Declan Breathnach claimed that differentials in VAT and taxes on commodities will drive people in the Republic to buy cheaper alcohol in Northern Ireland.

Speaking at the Committee on Budgetary Oversight, Mr Breathnach told Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe that there was need for "some form of fiscal alignment".

His comments come after Mr Donohoe last week said that duty-free shopping for people travelling from the Republic to the UK would return if the UK left the EU without a deal.

The British Government also said that UK citizens can avail of duty-free shopping when travelling to the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Breathnach said that people living along the border will certainly welcome the opportunity to go on the "booze cruises".

He added: "If you take for example, the Carlingford Lough ferry, which we all know and appreciate, the reality is that it's going to become a booze cruise in relation to the differentials in VAT and taxes in relation to the commodities that will ultimately drive people not just to buy those items, but also their weekly shopping.

"There's certainly some form of fiscal alignment (that) needs to be guaranteed."

Mr Donohoe responded: "In relation to the principle of fiscal alignment between Northern Ireland and Ireland, in the engagement that I had with the new Chancellor of the Exchequer that matter has not featured yet, but I am well aware of the sensitivity of any decision that I make in carbon tax to petrol stations and to local trade in border counties."

Mr Donohoe also said he has not made any decisions in relation to the number of border checkpoints and hiring personnel.

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