Fears over the erection of ‘ghost custom posts’

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Fears have been expressed over the bizarre suggestion ghost custom posts could be installed ‘maybe 20 kilometres north and south of the border’ at Derry and Donegal as a way controlling the importation and exportation of goods in the wake of Brexit.

Former Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Joan Burton raised the prospect of a potential customs no-man’s land in the Dáil last week.

During a discussion of ongoing Brexit issues, she said: “There is also the slow seepage out of information that there will be ghost custom posts, maybe 20 kilometres north and south of the border, with all the implications we understand for Donegal, Derry and the north west of the North of Ireland.”

How ‘ghost custom posts’ could practically be established around Derry given the city’s immediate proximity with Donegal was not spelled out.

But Deputy Burton said: “It is extraordinary that the Government is so silent on this matter given that Teagasc has recently stated the duties on beef, for example in a World Trade Organisation situation (WTO), will run as high as more than 60 per cent.”

During the same debate Sinn Féin TD Carol Nolan said: “Despite assurances by the Taoiseach in this Chamber that there would be no customs posts, this is the economic reality we now face as EU law will require it. It was confirmed last week by representatives of Revenue at the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach.

“Revenue told the committee that more than two million HGV journeys take place between the North and South each year and that at least eight per cent of these journeys will need to be checked, including some by physical inspection.”