Belfast Telegraph

Seamless border in Ireland after Brexit not achievable, warns Shatter

By Staff Reporter

A former Republic of Ireland Justice Minister has described the Irish Government's aim of a "frictionless border" in Ireland after Brexit as a "political fantasy".

Ex-Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter also described the decision to leave the EU "one of the most stupid acts of self-destruction since the Second World War".

He also told the Sunday Business Post that peace in Northern Ireland could be in jeopardy as a result of the Brexit referendum.

"We've heard endlessly that there is a sense of agreement between the British and Irish Governments that we'll have some sort of seamless, invisible border.

"Waffling away about 'We all want seamless borders' may be a wish, but it may not be achievable," the former TD told the newspaper.

Mr Shatter's remarks come just days after DUP MP Ian Paisley said that Ireland was in "total denial" about the reality of Brexit and should consider seeking a special arrangement from the EU to help it cope with the impact of the Brexit.

"Nationalist parties north and south have been vocally complaining about a hard border that has not arrived and is unlikely to appear unless the Republic of Ireland really wants it," the MP told the Belfast Telegraph.

"The fact is that there is a border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. Smuggling along this border has been occurring ever since price and product differentials made it worthwhile.

"It is about time that the Irish allowed a new national conversation to begin and that they at least considered what it would be like to exit the EU along with the UK."

Mr Shatter - once tipped as a possible future Taoiseach - resigned from the Irish Government in 2014 following a report critical of his department's handling of a Garda whistleblowing issue.

He was also found to have broken data protection laws by disclosing personal information about independent TD Mick Wallace. He lost his Dail seat in the 2016 general election.

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