Ó Murchú: Latest Brexit Proposal is Absolute Farce

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with Thomas McEvoy (Louth LEO)

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has hit out at the latest Irish Border Crossings Proposal being considered by British Government as “an absolute farce and it flies in the face of the December agreement”

The British government is considering a ‘Brexit proposal’ for people to pre-register to facilitate fast track technological checks at the Irish border.

Cllr Ó Murchú has said “This would be unwieldy, unworkable, expensive and above all, unacceptable. Anyone not having this pre-clearance would have to use designated crossing points or would be considered to have entered the state ‘irregularly’. The proposal requires substantial technological infrastructure and physical barriers at some border crossings. Basically, a hard border!

This proposal is contained within ‘Smart Border 2.0: Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland’, a report produced by an EU parliamentary committee.

Ó Murchú explained that “this reports talks of CCTV, vehicle tracking, technology that interacts with mobile phones and ‘specially enhanced licences’, different lanes for people who don’t have Irish or British citizenship and aren’t covered by the Common travel Area. Within it there is mention of a ‘trusted traders database’.

Ó Murchú, who is seeking election at the next General Election finds it “difficult to see how this sort of solution doesn’t involve physical custom and passport checks, particularly at major crossings like Carrickarnon on the N1 and Rassan on the N53 Castleblayney Road. Not everyone can be pre-registered, documents and licences can be mislaid or damaged, machines can go down and it is inconceivable that there wouldn’t be some sort of spot checking. Also this is a ‘solution’ in a world of complicated tariffs and compliance rules”.

“Simply, it just won’t work.”

This comes on top of Theresa May’s rejection of the legal text of the backstop deal with the EU, which she agreed to in December.

“While there are obviously elements of muscle flexing, posturing and negotiating gambits, it is becoming more likely that we are facing the prospect of a hard Brexit.”

“The Dublin government and the EU need to ensure that this doesn’t happen. There needs to be regulatory alignment on the island of Ireland. The island must stay within the Customs Union and the Common Market and ensure the rights and protections contained within the Good Friday Agreement are protected. The best way forward is for the North to have designated special status within the EU.”

“The deadline is 11pm March 29th 2019. Solutions need to be in place long before that. This is a countdown to chaos, a hard border is inconceivable and unacceptable.”

Businesses Should Prepare for Brexit – Cllr Ó Murchú

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with Thomas McEvoy (Louth LEO)

Sinn Féin Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has warned that Companies and businesses especially in the border area need to prepare for Brexit.

“While the emphasis needs to be on an EU and governmental solution to Brexit, small and medium enterprises should prepare for a worst case hard Brexit situation.

“Only 6% of SMEs in the South and 2% of SMEs in the North have a plan in place to deal with the possible impact from Brexit according to AIB’s fourth quarter 2017 Brexit Sentiment Index.”

Cllr Ó Murchú said “Thomas McEvoy, Head of Enterprise, and the Louth Enterprise Office have been briefing Louth County Council on the twists and turns of Brexit and they were instrumental in putting on the truly informative ‘Post Brexit International and Cross Border Conference’ in the Carrickdale Hotel recently.

“Not only were the obvious dangers to the economy across the island highlighted but also the varied facets of the impact of Brexit; it will have a bearing on taxation, employment, trade, customs, transport and logistics, compliance rules, legislation, importation, exportation etc. During council briefings and this conference there has been a strong emphasis on Brexit preparation programmes that are being put on offer for companies.”

Cllr Ó Murchú advised that “here is a necessity to draw the business community’s attention to these Brexit preparation aids. InterTrade Ireland has a ‘Brexit Voucher’ system which allows companies to engage a professional, to the value of €1,250 to evaluate its exposure to Brexit. Enterprise Ireland offer ‘Be Prepared Grants’ for SMEs who would benefit from further research and may need specialist services in developing their Brexit plan. This grant can be up to €5,000.

“Any measures which may mitigate some of the negatives of the Brexit process on Irish companies are to be welcomed. I would encourage companies and businesses in Louth to seek further information on ‘Brexit Vouchers’ and other related programmes from the Local Enterprise Office. We are very unprepared for Brexit and we are just over a year away”

For information on the Brexit Vochers or other related help go to localenterprise.ie/louth.


Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú: Hard Border Brexit would be like the Germans rebuilding the Berlin Wall

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú has called on DUP voters, Unionist farmers and businesses to challenge and confront the DUP on their Brexit stance following the debacle on Monday which seen the Brexit negotiations deteriorate into a farce.

There appeared to be agreement to move forward but following a phone call between DUP leader Arlene Foster and British Prime Minister Teresa May, those plans were scuppered.

Cllr Ó Murchú said “The DUP are being reckless in their quest to copper fasten their Britishness. The north should not be removed from the Customs Union and the Single Market. It is hard to see a solution which works for the people of the border region and across Ireland other than the North remaining within the EU. Sinn Féin has consistently sought a Designated Special Status for the north within the European Union and this makes the most sense economically.”

The Louth Councillor went on to say “People will not accept the return of border installations to this part of Ireland. There can be no removal of the rights and protections contained within the Good Friday Agreement. Trade, healthcare and communities would be greatly impacted by a return of border checks and stops. Economic devastation to Co. Louth is the only guarantee of a Hard Border Brexit. A Hard Border Brexit would be as absurd as the Germans rebuilding the Berlin Wall.”

Cllr Ó Murchú called on the Irish government to remain firm on the issue of the border and is encouraging all those who live in Co Louth and beyond to attend a ‘go-slow’ protest at the border at Carrickarnon (just past the Carrickdale) on Saturday morning at 11am. There will be a mock customs post erected and people can see for themselves the absurdity and effects of a hard border.

Everyone is welcome.


Watters takes Coffey to task over hard border claim

Sinn Fein Louth County Councillor Antóin Watters has described Fianna Fail Councillor Emma Coffey’s call for a “hard border” after Brexit as “short sighted and a surrender to the threat posed by the British government’s Brexit plans.”

Councillor Watters said:

“The consensus position among parties in the Dáil, and in the North, is for the minimum disruption possible to the two economies on the island of Ireland, and especially to the border counties, as a result of Brexit. Most support the north being designated a special status within the EU to facilitate this.

“The Fianna Fáil Councillor appears to have accepted that the efforts of her own party and of the rest of us will fail. Her stance reflects a recent call by Fianna Fáil for an electronic border similar to the toll system operating on the M50. In the event of the border becoming an EU international border this proposal has already been rubbished as insufficient.

“Her approach is also hugely contradictory. Having pointed out the difficulty in monitoring 500 km of border and hundreds of roads, and acknowledged the thousands who cross the border every day as workers or tourists or to visit family, Councillor Coffey demands that we should accept the need for a hard border.

“Any EU frontier on the island of Ireland would be a backward step and no self-respecting politician who claims to want a united Ireland or to be called a republican should be advocating such an outcome.

“What is required is a political and not an electronic solution to Brexit and certainly not a hard border.”

Antoin Watters: Commence Research on Brexit Impact

Cllr Antóin Watters

Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has called on the Government to commence specific research to identify the impact that Brexit will have in the border regions.

Cllr Watters said “In the Government’s ‘Action Plan on Rural Development’ it was proposed that specific research be done to identify the impact of Brexit on rural areas across the State but in particular, the border areas which will be impact most negatively of all.”

“Brexit is getting ever closer and we have MEPs like Guy Verhofstad visiting us from Belguim and a taskforce of MEPs from various countries trying to get an idea of the border area and trying to figure out the best way to proceed. Yet, this vital piece of research has yet to commence. MEPs from other countries are showing more interest than the Irish Government in the border areas.”

Cllr Watters said “We need to start this research without delay so we can have a clear understanding of what the impact will be and more importantly what contingency plans can be put in place to mitigate the consequences.”

For full details of our Alternative Budget 2018 please go to www.sinnfein.ie