Operation Yellowhammer: open border in Derry 'unsustainable' within days - criminal and dissident republican threat increase - trade to be 'severely' disrupted

The North of Ireland could be drastically affected should the United Kingdom leave the European Union with a No Deal Brexit on October 31, 2019.

Thursday, 12th September 2019, 3:06 pm
A No Deal Brexit could see a return to a hard border in Ireland. (Photo: Getty Images)

The current open border between the North and South would become "unsustainable" within days, according to the Operation Yellowhammer report made public by the British government on Wednesday evening.

The report is "reasonable worst case planning assumptions" on how a No Deal Brexit would impact upon the U.K.

Earlier in the week, the government was compelled by parliament to put the document into the public domain.

How will the North and Derry be affected by a No Deal Brexit?

- On November 1, 2019 (day one of a No Deal Brexit) the British government will operationalise the “no new checks with limited exceptions” (model announced on March 13, 2019) establishing a legislative framework and essential operations and system on the ground, to avoid an immediate risk of a return to a hard border on the U.K. side.

- The model is likely to prove unsustainable due to significant economic, legal and bio-security risks and no effective unilateral mitigations to address this will be available.

- With the U.K. becoming a third country, the automatic application of the E.U. tariff and regulatory requirements for goods entering Ireland will severely disrupt trade.

- The expectation is some businesses will stop trade or relocate to avoid paying the tariff which will make them uncompetitive [sic] or to avoid the risk of trading illegally, while others will continue to trade, but experience higher costs which may be passed on to consumers.

- The agri-food sector will be the hardest hit, given its reliance on highly integrated cross border supply chains and high tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.

- Disruption to key sectors and job losses are likely to result in protests and direct action with road blockages.

- Price and other differentials are likely to lead to the growth of the illegitimate economy.

A No Deal Brexit could see a return to a hard border in Ireland. (Photo: Getty Images)

- This will be particularly severe in border communities where both criminal and dissident groups already operate with greater threat and impunity.

- Given the tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, there will be significant pressure to agree new arrangements which supersede the day one model within days or weeks.