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Full detail of plan for post-Brexit Irish Sea border due in weeks

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Announcment: Michael Gove

Announcment: Michael Gove

Announcment: Michael Gove

The Government has said it will reveal details of its plans for Northern Ireland's new post-Brexit border infrastructure later this month.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said yesterday that more than £700m is to be spent on building new infrastructure, hiring staff and developing technology to ensure border systems are fully operational when the UK leaves the EU at the end of the year. But this spending only applies to Britain.

Mr Gove said the investment would ensure traders and the border industry are able to "manage the changes and seize the opportunities" when the transition period ends in December.

The £705m package includes £235m for staffing and IT systems, and £470m for port and inland infrastructure.

New border infrastructure will be built inland where there is no space at ports, while ports will get one-off financial support to ensure the right infrastructure is in place. The funding relates only to the implementation of the GB-EU border, and the Government will publish specific guidance and measures for Northern Ireland in the coming weeks.

Mr Gove said: "We are taking back control of our borders, and leaving the single market and the customs union at the end of this year bringing both changes and significant opportunities for which we all need to prepare.

"That is why we are announcing this major package of investment today."

Unlike the rest of the UK, Northern Ireland will continue to abide by EU rules on agricultural and manufactured goods. Ports here are ready to build border control points, but are still waiting for the green light from Stormont.

Meanwhile, new Taoiseach Micheal Martin also said more detail is needed on arrangements following Brexit, and expressed concern about the "significant divergences" remaining between the EU and the UK on a post-Brexit trade agreement.

"I think there has been some progress in terms of a paper that the UK Government published, but we do need more detail, we need more precision.

"I think we need an injection of momentum into the overall talks between the European Union and the United Kingdom in relation to Brexit," he said.

"I had a very fruitful discussion with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson after I took office. I think we both agreed that it's in everybody's interest, particularly in terms of businesses and giving them certainty, that we get a good comprehensive trade deal between the UK and European Union."

Belfast Telegraph