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Fred Searle


Wednesday 16th August 2017, 16:25 London

UK government opposes Irish border posts

Position paper rejects customs frontier between UK and Republic of Ireland, arguing for continuation of frictionless cross-border trade

UK government opposes Irish border posts

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A hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic should be avoided after Brexit, the government has said.

In a position paper detailing plans on the hotly-debated issue, Whitehall emphasized that there should be no customs posts or physical monitoring of vehicles at the 200 or so crossing points along the border.

The idea of effectively establishing a customs border in the Irish Sea was also rejected for being "not constitutionally or economically viable".

In addition, the proposals, which mirror current border arrangements, dismiss speculation over the use of CCTV cameras or number plate recognition technology, either at the border or set back from it.

Instead, the government wants to see small and medium-sized business exempted from any new customs tariffs and the continuation of the border-free Common Travel Area that covers the UK and the Republic of Ireland. This allows British, Irish and EU citizens to move freely across the border.

"We don't want to see a border between parts of the United Kingdom," prime minister Theresa May said.

"What we want to see is an arrangement in relation to customs and borders with the European Union, which will enable us to see no return to the hard borders of the past in Northern Ireland, to enable that flow of goods and people between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"That's not just in the interests of Northern Ireland and the UK, it's in the interests of the Republic of Ireland and the European Union too. "

The BBC reported that if the proposals are accepted, customs officials expect to use both technology and physical checks to make sure larger businesses involved in international trade comply with new customs tariffs.

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