Lord Kilclooney: We must not have hard GB border

Larne port, which could have border controls, Lord Kilclooney warns
Larne port, which could have border controls, Lord Kilclooney warns

Since the UK vote in favour of Brexit there has been media coverage of UK citizens applying for Irish passports and concern about a “hard” border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Until the UK finally leaves the EU – at least two years hence – the UK passport will continue to be an ‘EU’ passport.

So, whilst the issue of new Irish passports may be a good fund raising operation for the Irish exchequer there is absolutely no reason at present to apply for an Irish/EU passport.

Nor is there any guarantee that the RoI will remain in the EU after Brexit.

So those who have rushed to apply for Irish passports may well find in two years that they have wasted their time and money!

What is more concerning – and it requires the attention of the DUP, UUP, and TUV – is the debate about a border between the UK and the EU.

Having attended the recent meeting of the British/Irish Parliamentary Assembly I suspected that the Irish MPs wanted a new border control between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Now the “cat is out of the bag!”

In this week’s Newry Democrat the SDLP confirm that “any new frontier with Britain must be around this island and not across it” ie in future there must be passport controls between NI and Scotland and NI and England.

And presumably commercial barriers as well. Clearly this would be unacceptable to the vast majority of NI people and would be damaging to trade between NI and the rest of the UK.

This idea should be rejected at once by those parties which give first priority to defending the interests of people and business in NI.

Lord Kilclooney, Former MEP, Mullinure, Co Armagh