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Border will become economic barrier to trade and jobs – Adams

29 July, 2016 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has expressed his “deep disappointment at the failure of the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to respect and uphold the vote of the people of the North to remain within the EU”.

The Louth TD said:

“I agree with the Taoiseach’s objective of minimising the likely damage arising from the Brexit vote and of co-ordinating our response to it. However, there is no point in having that objective if, at his first meeting with the British Prime Minister, the Taoiseach fails to defend the rights of citizens in the North to remain within the EU.

“There is also no point in the government spinning the line that there will be a ‘soft landing’ when the reality is that any restrictions on the border will have serious economic consequences.

“The implementation of Brexit means that the border, which has become almost invisible since the Good Friday Agreement, will be the only land frontier between Britain and the EU. It will become an economic barrier to trade and the movement of goods and services and jobs. The reality is that there are border controls between EU member states and non-member states. Moreover, as the Brexit negotiation will be between the EU and the British government, any arrangements reached do not need to have the agreement of either the Dáil or the Executive. London and Brussels can impose them.

“The Brexit vote to leave in England and Wales was hugely influenced by a strong anti-immigration campaign. It is difficult to envisage a scenario in which customs and immigration checks will not be introduced.

“What is also likely is that checks, including static and mobile checkpoints will be introduced to control cross border trade. Inevitably, this will impact on ferry traffic to Scotland and England.

“All of these measures will cost a substantial amount of money to resource and will reduce what, under the Good Friday Agreement institutions, was a growing trading connection. Britain’s Ambassador to Dublin told a conference in Dublin that while efforts would be made to avoid restrictions on the movement of people avoiding controls on the trade of goods would be ‘more difficult’.

“The knock-on effect on jobs North and South will be considerable. The Irish government has already estimated that 200,000 jobs are linked to trade with Britain which currently stands at €1.2 billion a week. 

“The border counties will be most affected, especially by the disruption to Interreg and Peace funding.

“On Wednesday, the Irish Central Bank reduced its forecasts for economic growth in the aftermath of Britain’s Brexit vote. It predicted a ‘negative and material’ impact ‘both in the short-run and the longer-term’. It warned that Ireland and Britain could face increased tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.

“This is of huge concern given that Britain is still the largest trade partner of the Irish state. Agri-food and tourism are key sectors likely to be affected.

“In summary, Brexit presents a significant threat to the two economies on this island. The Irish government has a responsibility to defend the vote of citizens in the North to remain within the EU and to protect the institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.” 

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