Belfast Telegraph

We've no hard Brexit border policing plans, says Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

By Tom Brady

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has admitted the Irish Government has no contingency plans for policing the border in the event of a hard Brexit.

Ruling out proposals to further increase the strength of the garda if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, he said numbers were rising by an extra 600 compared to a year ago.

The Taoiseach added it was up to the garda authorities to determine where officers should be deployed.

He said: "Obviously, our overriding plan and objective is to avoid a no-deal scenario and that's why we put so much work into negotiating a withdrawal agreement for Westminster in the next couple of weeks.

"The best way to avoid a no-deal Brexit was to have a deal, and we have a deal on the table now.

"We're going to continue to expand the force over the next couple of years. How gardai are deployed is, of course, a matter for the commissioner.

"But we will take into account any changes that may arise because of Brexit and we also need to make sure we have very close co-operation with the PSNI.

"That co-operation is as good as it ever has been.

"We are not making any contingency plans for a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

"But we do have to have regard for the fact that we could see an increase in smuggling and other illegal cross-border activities."

Irish justice minister Charlie Flanagan said there were always challenges for policing on any border, such as organised crime and smuggling.

PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton has asked the Home Office to fund 400 extra officers to allow him to deal with the repercussions of Brexit.

The Police Federation they wanted assurances they would have adequate resources to patrol the border.

Belfast Telegraph


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