A lack of border checks in the Irish government’s emergency Brexit plans proves warnings about the frontier are just careless rhetoric, the DUP has claimed.
The party’s Brexit spokesman, Sammy Wilson, said talk from Ireland and the EU about the risks of a hard border returning was designed to manipulate people’s fears.
Reacting to the publication of the Dublin government’s package of laws that will be enacted in a no-deal scenario, Mr Wilson said: “One thing absent from the Republic of Ireland’s no-deal Brexit legislation is any plan for border checkpoints or the sort of border infrastructure that some in Dublin and Brussels have been having nightmares about.
“This legislation points to the reality that in 2019 there is no need for the type of borders we knew in the 70s, 80s and 90s. No one is building a so-called hard border or going back to checkpoints with soldiers.
“Such talk was rhetoric designed to ferment fear in genuine communities along both sides of the border. To manipulate people’s fears in such a way was careless and reckless.
“We want a sensible deal which works for every part of the United Kingdom but also that works for our neighbours in the Republic.
“We can get that deal but it will require Dublin and Brussels to be reasonable and pragmatic. Refusing to budge and being inflexible over the backstop will lead to the very outcome which their backstop is designed to avoid.”
The Irish government has held firm on its insistence on a border backstop in the withdrawal treaty, to ensure a free-flowing border post Brexit.
The mechanism, which would be triggered in the absence of a wider trade deal after the Brexit implementation period, would see the UK remain in the customs union and Northern Ireland additionally tied to EU single market rules on goods.
Despite drawing up extensive plans to absorb the impact of a no deal across Irish society, the Dublin government’s public position has consistently been that the contingency measures do not include plans for border checkpoints.
The DUP, which has accused the Republic’s administration of scaremongering over the threat of a return to violence, claims the absence of such plans demonstrates that such warnings are hollow.
Mr Wilson also questioned moves by the EU Commission on state aid rules that will give the Irish government greater latitude to support businesses negatively impacted by Brexit.
“The EU was demanding Northern Ireland remain part of the customs union and regulatory regime to maintain the single market integrity yet this type of support for Irish business will undermine that regulatory regime,” he said.
“This completely undermines the Republic of Ireland case for the backstop and flies in the face of Brussels’ rationale for the backstop.”
- Press Association