Those in the border region should ready themselves for a hard border with customs checks, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has warned.
While a UK position paper has made it clear that a “seamless and frictionless” border is the preferred post-Brexit option,
“We obviously have to prepare for the worst case scenario, we can’t allow a situation here whereby there is a cliff-edge that we get pushed over and we haven’t thought about,” he said.
“The Revenue Commissioners in Ireland need to be involved in discussions as to how we manage a worst case scenario.”
The position paper, published yesterday, notes that circumnavigating physical checks is the UK's number one priority. However, it states that the southern side of the border “would continue to be subject to relevant EU regulations” which could mean customs checks.
“Certainly we are not going to be used as a pawn here in any bigger negotiation. My focus is on the island of Ireland, the interests of Irish businesses and citizens, whether they live north or south or, indeed, in the UK.”
As things stand, the Common Travel Area will continue as it is, with
Fianna Fáil Brexit spokesman Stephen Donnelly, however, says the UK proposals were contradictory.