Adams demands clarification from Taoiseach on customs controls
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has called on the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to urgently provide clarification about the contradictory positions on customs controls from Michel Barnier and himself.
Speaking this afternoon, the Sinn Féin leader pointed to remarks by the EU’s Chief Negotiator this morning in the Dáil in which Mr Barnier said: “We have a duty to speak the truth. The UK's departure from the EU will have consequences. Customs controls are part of EU border management. They protect the single market. They protect our food safety and our standards.”
Gerry Adams said:
“Four months ago, I raised with the Taoiseach reports that the Government was identifying locations for customs posts.
“According to media reports, this allegedly included the examination and identification of locations for full border check points with ‘red and green channel’ facilities in Louth, Monaghan, Cavan, Leitrim, and Donegal. The reports also claimed that the M1 motorway between Dublin and Belfast is to be a particular focus for customs officials.
“On February 15th, I asked the Taoiseach about these claims and he told me: ‘I hope nobody is looking for sites along the Border. I have seen reports drafted by customs officials but I have an agreement with the British Government that there will be no return to the Border of the past and that means customs posts along the Border. This is a British policy. It is not a technological issue. This is a political challenge. We do not want to see that happen because Deputy Adams knows the implications of that very well. We will not stand for any return to the Border of the past. We will make that case very strongly and clearly. Nobody I have met North or South wants to a return to that.’
“Subsequently, the Minister for Finance contradicted this saying that the revenue was examining the issue of customs posts.
“This morning, we have had the clearest contradiction yet of the Taoiseach’s position. Mr Barnier emphasised the importance of customs controls as part of EU border management. The Taoiseach must now urgently clarify this.
“The economic implications of customs posts for the two economies on this island and especially for the border communities are enormous. Currently, island wide trade generates over €3 billion annually. Around 60 per cent of the North’s exports to the EU are to the Irish state. Over 30,000 people regularly commute across the border between the North and South for work or study.
“Brexit puts all of this at risk and with it the jobs of those exporters who may now face customs posts.”