Northern Ireland news

Irish Revenue Commission denies hard border preparation work

The Irish Revenue Commission has denied that it is involved in preparation work at the former border customs post at Bridgend in County Donegal (above). Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Seamus McKinney

The Irish Revenue Commission has denied that it is involved in preparation work for a hard border.

However, Revenue Commissioners’ chairman, Niall Cody said yesterday he could not rule out border checks in the future.

Mr Cody was responding to concerns raised by Donegal Sinn Féin TD, Pearse Doherty that land clearance was already underway at border crossings in Co Donegal in preparation for a hard Brexit.

The Donegal TD told the Irish News there has been a “clear-up” around the former border post at Bridgend and similar work has been carried out at Pettigo and Lifford.

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Mr Doherty said: “The older border post at Lifford has been removed and the site cleared and a 2.4-metre-high fence put around it.”

The Sinn Féin deputy said he was concerned that no long-term guarantee could be given by Mr Cody to concerns over border checks. Mr Doherty said it was also a cause for concern that no consideration was being given to cross-border shoppers.

“People are crossing the border all the time. Is it going to be considered a crime if you’ve a TV in the boot? These are difficulties,” he said.

While the former border post at Bridgend has been painted, the current owner of the building told the Irish News last night she has not been approached by the Irish government or Revenue Commission with a view to taking over the building. The owner said the post was still available for rent to anyone seeking office accommodation.

Earlier yesterday, Mr Doherty told the Oireachtas finance committee there was a “lot of suspicion” in County Donegal over significant work at the border. However, Mr Cody said he was not aware of any works being carried out.

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"I can tell you and your constituents we are not involved in the cleaning up of any facilities for border posts," Mr Cody said.

He added: "I can assure you because we've been involved heavily in work on the infrastructural arrangements, the physical infrastructure, that are needed in the ports and they are significant.”

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