THE IRISH border issue is a political invention. The Good Friday Agreement states that there should be no Security Checkpoints on the border and no hard infrastructure. This relates to military checkpoints as used to exist during the ‘Troubles’.
When the UK leaves the Single Market, and to protect the integrity of both the Single Market and the UK internal market, there will be a Customs border between the two, as you’ll have two separate regulatory markets with a land border.
It is important to note the distinction between Customs checks and Security checks as laid out in the Good Friday Agreement as they are not the same thing.
Both sides insist that in the event of No Deal, neither will erect hard infrastructure at the border, as Customs checks do not need to be carried out at the physical border; they can be carried out at the points of entry to the Irish ports or airports, and the vast majority of internal movement of goods will be done through the trusted trader scheme, as is in place already.
Use of the TIR Rules already exist and are used throughout the EU for goods entering the Single Market from a third Country. Customs declarations are computer generated and controlled in any instance and they do not need every consignment of goods to be checked but a random selection to be physically checked based on intelligence and experience, again as happens already.
The backstop position contained within Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement and put there not by the EU but by Theresa May and Olly Robbins, suggests a Customs border may need to exist down the Irish Sea to deal with this politically invented border issue. Effectively hiving off Northern Ireland to the EU and Single Market.
However, as the DUP quite rightly argue, if Customs checks can be carried out on the ferries as they leave the UK, what is the difference if those checks are carried out as they arrive in the ports of Ireland and Northern Ireland instead?
Goods do not change regulatory standards en route across the Irish Sea and so it is irrelevant to insist that checks can only be carried out at departure and not instead at arrival.
If done at departure then it means that Northern Ireland would need to be treated as part of the EU, if done on arrival into Ireland instead, it negates the need for this. Which is why this whole thing is a political invention and decision, not one based in necessity or reality.
As it’s an invention purely to push the Withdrawal Agreement as a solution to an issue that doesn’t need to exist as Customs checks are not Security checks as defined in the Good Friday Agreement. Both sides have categorically stated, deal or no deal there will be no hard infrastructure erected on the border. Customs checks can be carried out on arrival in Ireland and not just on departure from the UK mainland and the use of ‘Trusted trader’ schemes negates the need to physically search every load passing between the internal border.
As said previously, the return to a hard border, the premise that this will breach the Good Friday Agreement and risk peace in Northern Ireland is a nonsense. Its yet more Project Fear and propaganda put out by the Remain campaign but more specifically Theresa May and her Remain negotiating team, who will do and say anything to stop us leaving the EU, whilst paying lip service to the Referendum result itself.
Anyone who claims that the Irish border is a reason why we cannot just Leave the EU are either ignorant of the realities but if not, then they assume that YOU are. The issue is an invented one, Invented by Prime Minister Theresa May and endorsed by ex-Prime Ministers Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and John Major who are all on record as saying Brexit must be stopped. This is the way they think it can be stopped, but people need to be aware of the realities.