Ireland fury: MEPs lash out at Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan

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The Westminster government released its Northern Ireland protocol on Wednesday, confirming that some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom will be checked. The papers also showed that Northern Ireland would need to follow some EU rules on agriculture and industrial goods to ensure access to European markets and to keep the border with the Republic open.

Fianna Fáil MPs, Barry Andrews and Billy Kelleher, have insisted that the Prime Minister's plans are "worrying".

The EU has previously voiced concerns about Britain using Northern Ireland as a back door for goods from Europe.

Mr. Andrews and Mr. Kelleher believe that the block will question whether a trade border on the Irish Sea can work without strict controls.

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson's plans for Northern Ireland have been criticized (Image: PA)

Michael Gove

Michael Gove outlined the government's Brexit plan for Northern Ireland (Image: PA)

In a joint statement, they said: “We are alarmed at how the UK government interprets the Irish protocol.

“Some of the languages ​​used in the implementation guidelines are worrying.

“What the British government is proposing is a light touch.

"We believe that this may cause the European Commission to wonder whether maintaining the Irish Sea trade border is still viable."


The EU has previously raised concerns about goods traveling from the Republic to Northern Ireland (Image: PA)

The protocol states that no international border along the Irish Sea will be required as the screening is supported by electronic processes.

However, some limited additional procedures will be required for goods arriving in Northern Ireland, using "all flexibility and discretion".

There will be no new physical infrastructure to carry out customs controls, but some existing entry points for agricultural goods will be "expanded" to allow for "adequate" additional controls.

The paper said: “In line with Ireland's existing status as a single epidemiological unit, some controls will be required, supported by relevant electronic processes and based on what is already happening in ports such as Larne and Belfast.

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Simon Coveney

Irish Prime Minister Simon Coveney has raised concerns about customs controls (Image: PA)

Brexit news

A timeline of Brexit through January 2021 (Image: EXPRESS)

"And I think there will be a lot of skeptical people in the EU when they hear the UK government say that there will be no new customs physical infrastructure in Northern Ireland or in the UK facing Northern Ireland."

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove explained the plans in the House of Commons and said Northern Ireland companies had "full access" to UK markets.

He said: “Our proposals will give Northern Ireland companies full access to the entire UK market.

“Make sure there are no longer any customs duties on goods in the UK customs territory and meet our commitments without the need for a new customs infrastructure in Northern Ireland.

"Finally, you guarantee that companies in Northern Ireland will benefit from the lower tariffs we deliver through our new free trade agreements with third countries."

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