Belfast Telegraph

Sale of PSNI station on Irish border halted due to Brexit concerns

by Gareth Cross

The sale of a PSNI station based on the Irish border has been scrapped due to concerns surrounding Brexit.

In a statement to the Newry Reporter the PSNI confirmed that the station, based in Warrenpoint Co Down, had been withdrawn from the market "due to the uncertainty surrounding the implications of Brexit."

They said that any sale was "pending clarity around future arrangements."

Warrenpoint PSNI station went on the market in 2016 after closing its doors.

Local SDLP Councillor Declan McAteer told the Belfast Telegraph that Newry, Down and Mourne Council had wanted to buy the station with a view to turning it into a community centre for the Warrenpoint area.

The close proximity of the station to Warrenpoint Harbour, formerly used for customs duties, and the Irish border has led to speculation that the station could be used in a customs or border security role.

It remains unclear what the Irish border arrangements will be after Brexit, with Prime Minister Theresa May and Secretary of State Karen Bradley saying the British government are committed to no border infrastructure in Northern Ireland.

However, European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier has said that current proposals from the Government are unrealistic.

Councillor McAteer said that the area would be a natural location for customs infrastructure in the result of a hard Brexit.

"It would serve a much better purpose being a community centre than any kind of customs station to serve a Brexit that nobody wants," he said.

"I presume that somebody inside Government must have said, don't dispose of that because it may be needed for some kind of customs storage.

"I know that there was talk that if customs were to go back into Warrenpoint Docks, across the street from the station, there would be severe pressures in the docks area.

"There used to be an old customs house there, but Brexit has put alot of pressure on their development plans."

He said that the local community would be disappointed that Brexit was getting in the way of local development. 

"Somebody within the civil service or property section is looking to see what the options are and this is one of them and we would certainly be resisting this

"There's no support for it at all and the community will be aghast to hear that this is what we're being served up instead of a potential community centre

"It's totally unacceptable and disappointing and we will certainly be pursuing it."

Newry, Down and Mourne Council are expected to discuss the station at a meeting later this week. 

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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