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Brexit border report points to Customs Union and Single Market solution, says Farry

March 16, 2018 9:40 AM

Stephen Farry profile pic 2Alliance Brexit Spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has given a qualified welcome to a Northern Ireland Affairs Committee report into the border after Brexit, saying the local implication is the UK as a whole remains in a Customs Union and Northern Ireland at least in the Single Market.

Dr Farry said the report, which expresses concern over progress in finding a solution to the land border post-Brexit, was "helpful in bringing a greater sense of realism to the challenges involved" in avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland. Alliance made a detailed written submission to the Committee in advance of the report's publication.

"The tone of this report is very much at odds with the dogma and wishful thinking of hard-line Brexiteers, some of whom are represented on the Committee," he said.

"It is noteworthy the Committee has recognised new border infrastructure in Ireland would be politically objectionable as well as impractical and unworkable, plus objecting to a customs border down the Irish Sea. Alliance agrees and notes neither of these need rule out some regulatory differences in line with the special economic circumstances of Northern Ireland, consistent with the principle of consent.

"Furthermore, the Committee struggles to see how this avoidance of new borders can be reconciled with the UK's decision to leave both the Customs Union and Single Market, and notes mooted technological solutions are untried and untested.

"Therefore, the only logical conclusion from this analysis is the UK as whole should have a fresh Customs Union with the European Union and at the very least Northern Ireland as a region remains within the Single Market."

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