Declan Breathnach TD Louth (and East Meath)

10th August 2019

 

Common sense must prevail when it comes to cross-border smuggling – Breathnach

 

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and Spokesperson on Cross-Border Cooperation, Declan Breathnach, has said that common sense must prevail when it comes to dealing with cross-border smuggling.

Deputy Breathnach was commenting as Nigel Evans, Conservative MP, spoke on BBC Radio 4 about the need for viable alternatives to the backstop given the implications a border on the island of Ireland would create.

Deputy Breathnach said, “I think it is very welcome to hear any MPs discussing the problems with illegal cross-border smuggling in Ireland and of how Brexit will only exacerbate this issue. As I have said on many occasions, this is a problem which needs to be given more prominence.

“For many years, smuggling proved to be a major enterprise for criminals along the border counties. Such is the scale of smuggling that retail jobs have been lost and local retailers have been forced out of business. The problem has always existed, with nine out of ten border retailers believing that the trade of smuggled goods impacts their profits by 5-10%, however with Brexit fast approaching; the problem will only get worse.

“As we all know there have been many conflicting views on what will happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The Head of the Northern Ireland civil service has said that even if both the UK and Irish authorities do not impose checks at the border, which they have said they won’t, businesses would still face new legal obligations particularly in relation to customs

“The Government need to come clean and spell out what will happen once and for all. Border retailers deserve to know what to prepare for. Potential smugglers need to know they will feel the full force of the law.

“Nigel Evans MP acknowledged this issue recently on radio in the UK and I would like to hear some of our own Government representatives doing likewise”, concluded Deputy Breathnach.

 

ENDS

Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2

(Declan – 087 2697638) (T) 01 6183549 (Email) declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie