Republic of Ireland news

Open customs border in Ireland `not possible' post-Brexit, report finds

The report said it would be naive to believe a unique arrangement could be found

AN open customs border between the north and Republic will be impossible after Brexit, a revenue report has found.

An internal report by the Revenue Commissioners spelled out the enormous physical and economic impact Brexit will impose upon Ireland's customs infrastructure.

The commissioners began exploring the potential impact on customs a year before the UK voted to leave the EU.

Their unpublished report said 13,000 commercial vehicles cross the Irish border every day.

It added that a completely open border was not possible from a customs perspective, and it would be naive to believe a unique arrangement could be found.

"Once negotiations are completed...the UK will become a third country for customs purposes and the associated formalities will become unavoidable," it read.

"While this will affect all member states, the effect will be more profound on Ireland as the only EU country to have a land border with the UK.

"While some form of common travel area may exist post-Brexit, a completely open border is not possible from a customs perspective."

According to RTE, the report also highlighted the frequent movement of construction equipment, "or even just tools", which moves "a few miles over and back across the border with Northern Ireland today".

"Given that these temporary movements would now be across the border of the EU customs territory, controls would be unavoidable," the draft stated.

It added that ports and airports would need extra infrastructure, including temporary storage facilities for customs clearance.

For traders, the report said, the administrative and fiscal burden could not be underestimated.

Even the Ploughing Championships would be hit, it said, since heavy equipment brought from the UK would need to be declared under a Temporary Importation Procedure.

Extra staff would also be needed at An Post to manage customs checks on parcels from the UK.

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