Government denies border checkpoint preparations

The Government has denied it is developing secret plans for checkpoints along the border in the event of a hard Brexit.

Preparation for Britain’s exit from the EU took up a considerable portion of Cabinet yesterday with ministers discussing the potential impacts. However, a Government spokesman strongly ruled out any notion of making contingency arrangements for a hard border.

“We are not going to start preparing for physical infrastructure because that would help to make that a reality,” a Government spokesman said.

“Why would you start making preparations for something that you categorically do not want to happen?”

Asked a number of times whether the Government were putting secret plans in place for border posts, the spokesman said: “We are not planning for a hard border.”

Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Minister Heather Humphreys brought a body of research on Brexit’s potential implications on business to Cabinet yesterday which recommended the introduction of higher-level customs clearance training and the publishing of job opportunities in logistics, supply chain, and transportation.

The research also found that the greatest level of concern among businesses — regardless of sector — relates to the free movement of goods and the possible imposition of tariffs on trade. Other concerns felt widely include those relating to mutual recognition of standards and the free movement of people.

One of the reports brought by the minister which focused on the trade implications of Brexit found that Irish companies now need to diversify to focus on non-UK markets.

Ms Humphreys also brought the 2017 Annual Report of the Companies Registration Office to Cabinet which recorded the highest annual number of company registrations in the history of the State, with 22,304 new companies recorded.

Health Minister Simon Harris brought forward emergency legislation to address a 2017 High Court decision which found the involuntary detention of a patient on a 12-month renewal order under the Mental Health Act breaks the European Convention of Human Rights.

Following an appeal in May 2018 the Court of Appeal ruled that renewal orders allowing for the involuntary detention of patients for periods of up to 12 months are unconstitutional.

The judgment requires emergency legislation to amend the Mental Health Act 2001 to ensure dentition orders do not exceed three months.

It is hoped that the emergency legislation can be passed before the summer recess.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan put forward plans to delete the reference to blasphemy in the Constitution.

This paves the way for a vote in October on the issue, likely alongside a referendum on the constitutional reference to a woman’s place in the home.

The minister intends to introduce the referendum bill on blasphemy to the Dáil before the summer recess.


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