Roy Beggs, East Antrim Ulster Unionist Party MLA has voiced opposition to the Irish Republic’s idea of using the Irish Sea as an EU border in part of the Brexit discussions.
Roy Beggs MLA said,
“Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU it is important for individuals and for local exporting businesses that the future EU/UK movement restriction will minimise bureaucracy and any unnecessary delays that may inhibit visitors and the export of goods.
“It is extremely disappointing to hear of reports of the Irish Governments idea of using the Irish Sea as a border. My Ulster Unionist colleagues and I have always highlighted that it would be unacceptable to have a border running up the Irish Sea. Such a proposal would be a clear breach of the principle of consent contained within the Belfast Agreement by effectively altering NI’s constitutional position without agreement.
The Ulster Unionist MLA went on to highlight that creating a UK internal border controls at our ports/airport would defy logic.
Roy Beggs said, “60% of our regional external sales exports are shipped to Great Britain whereas only 15% are transported to the Republic of Ireland. Apart from separating NI from the rest of the UK, in breach of the Belfast Agreement, an Irish Sea custom proposal would actually add unnecessary costs and bureaucracy to the movement of the majority of goods exported from NI.
“Instead of playing politics in advance of a possible election in the Republic, the Irish Government should be supporting the use of technology to track goods and minimise its impact on people’s lives.
Indeed, a hard border between the Republic and the rest of the UK would be very costly to the Irish economy and the agri-food industry in particular. Everyone should be working to prevent a hard border with the UK, which would adversely affect citizens and businesses in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and indeed the rest of the UK”.