Foster says there will be no border infrastructure post-Brexit as Irish government calls for backstop alternatives
The DUP leader Arlene Foster has said there will be no infrastructure at the Irish border after Brexit.
Mrs Foster was speaking after the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that in the event of a no-deal Brexit there will be checks on goods and live animals, which he said would take place "as far as possible" in ports, airports and at businesses.
"But some may need to take place near the border," he said.
Responding on Friday, Mrs Foster said: "To be fair to our own Government, to the British Government, when Theresa May was there and indeed our new Prime Minister, they have all made it clear they will not put infrastructure on the border, and I think that is very important to remember that.
"There will be a lot of speculation over the coming weeks, I have no doubt about that, there has been a lot of speculation up until now. But what we need to do is to look at the facts, the facts are the Government has said very clearly they will not be putting infrastructure at the border."
Addressing the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Dinner in Dublin on Thursday night, Leo Varadkar said as far as possible, any border checks would take place near ports and airports.
"We're working out the details of this with the European Commission and we'll inform the public and businesses as soon as we know what the outcome will be," he said.
Mr Varadkar told the audience there is a "significant and growing" risk of a no-deal Brexit - something the Irish government doesn't want to see.
"We don't want to see a no-deal, and we will continue our efforts to avoid one to the very end. But not at any cost," he said.
Also speaking on Friday, the Irish Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee said that the Government is still working with the European Commission to determine how to configure border controls and customs checks in the event of a disorderly Brexit.
Speaking to RTÉ, she said the government cannot allow checks to happen on the border.
Ms McEntee said protecting the Good Friday agreement is paramount and that the government still wants to hear from the UK about any alternative arrangements to the backstop.
She said the government will be as clear as it can in the coming weeks about exactly where checks will take place in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Belfast Telegraph Digital