No-tariff border will turn province into ‘the UK’s Wild West’

Plans to impose no tariffs or carry out additional checks on the border have been heavily criticised by a spokesman for the retail industry.

Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 10:35 am
Updated Wednesday, 13th March 2019, 11:35 am
NIRC director Aodhán Connolly

Responding to efforts to avoid a hard border, Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) director, Aodhán Connolly said: “the Government and the EU must see that this is simply now a mess”.

“No tariffs and no extra checks is not just no short term solution, it is no solution at all.”

Instead, he said a UK tariff free position would effectively bring about a hard border in Ireland as the EU would act to secure its Single Market and Customs Union from cheap low standard imports and arbitrage.

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“The people who will suffer most are legitimate businesses and farmers in Northern Ireland who will not be able to move their goods to the Republic of Ireland without tariffs whereas Republic of Ireland goods will have free rein and it will be a goldmine for criminals.

In its statement the Government said it recognised businesses and farmers would have concerns about the impact its approach would have on their competitiveness.

Hpowever, it stressed it was the only plan it could pursue unilaterally take to deliver on the “absolute commitment to avoid a hard border in the event of no deal”.

Mr Connolly was unimpressed.

“To be clear, this does not maintain control of the border, monitor the flow of goods into the UK, and the organised criminals will exploit this system,” he said.

“They do not care about declarations, paying their bills or even human health.

“This will affect Northern Ireland’s reputation as a serious trading area, effectively turning us into the Wild West of the UK.

“This proves yet again we need a deal.”