How is Britain going to control the 499km border between our two nations?
Louth TD Declan Breathnach highlighted what he saw as ‘mixed signals’ from the British Prime Minister’s speech.
‘ Theresa May wants Britain out of the Single Market and Customs Union, so how is she going to deal with the Irish Border?’ said Deputy Breathnach.
He expressed his fears on what the vision for Brexit is, and what it will mean for Ireland, and in particular the border regions. ‘While she says maintaining the Common Travel Area between UK and Ireland is a priority, she is intent on a hard Brexit and is very vocal in the area of controlling immigration. How is she going to control the border between our two nations, which stretches to 499 Km?’
He added: ‘We must remember too that any plans she has, including those in relation to maintaining the Common Travel Area with us, or in treating Ireland in any way differently to other EU nations, has to have the agreement of the entire EU.’
The Louth TD accused her speech as being ‘full of aspira- tions for a Global Britain.’ She wants to retain full trading rights with the EU whilst at the same time leaving the Single Market. She said that the UK is not looking to be half in and half out. However, it seems she wants to retain all their rights without making any contributions.’
He said the impact of exit from the Single Market and Customs Union will be catastrophic. ‘For the border regions both North and South, we need to be assured that the future of Peace IV and Interreg funding following the UK exit from the EU will be guaranteed. While these funds have been guaranteed up until 2020 we need to have assurance beyond that.
The importance in terms of meaningful cross-border co-operation and relationship building of these programmes cannot be underestimated and the UK cannot turn its back on this. We cannot let the magnificent work of the Good Friday Agreement go to waste and this must be dealt with in our negotiations with the UK.’