Joint statement from the Fianna Fáil Delegation in the European Parliament

“The possibility of customs checks on the Irish border grew more likely following the publication of implementation guidelines for the Irish protocol today by the British Government,” said Irish Renew Europe MEPs Barry Andrews and Billy Kelleher.

The Fianna Fáil MEPs were commenting after Michael Gove published a document earlier today in the UK Parliament that outlined how the British government would implement the Irish protocol agreed last autumn, and approved by the UK Parliament.

“We are alarmed at how the British government is interpreting the Irish protocol. Some of the language used in the implementation guidelines is worrying. What the British government is proposing is quite light touch. We believe it could cause the European Commission to question whether keeping the trade border in the Irish Sea is still viable.

“Our worry is that in this scenario, the Commission would be forced to insist on customs checks on the island of Ireland in order to protect the European Internal and Single Market. This is something we, and the majority of people on the island of Ireland, would oppose.

“The European Commission expected that customs controls would apply to all goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain with rebates on goods that stay in Northern Ireland. However, Mr. Gove’s document seems to suggest that this is no longer the British government’s intention.

“This is the latest in a long line of attempted row backs by the British government on their commitments. The agreement reached last autumn must be adhered to. It cannot be diminished or diluted for domestic political purposes in Britain.

“At this very uncertain time, the British Government must live up to their commitments agreed with the European Commission. We need an orderly Brexit, and we need clear rules for how trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain will continue,” concluded the MEPs.