WATCH Irish EU spokesman: Hard border is a clear and present danger to the peace process
A hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic would be a “clear and present danger to the peace process,” the Irish government's EU spokesman has warned.
Senator Neale Richmond - an ally of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar - dismissed suggestions that warnings over the repercussions of re-establishing a hard border on the island were “alarmist,” insisting that it would compromise the Good Friday Agreement.
He also rebuked UK ministers over the lack of detail provided on potential solutions for when the UK leaves the EU single market and customs union in March next year.
He told ITV1’s Peston on Sunday: “Any border infrastructure, any customs infrastructure is a viable threat to the peace process, which is only 20 years old on this island.
“The Irish government is a co-guarantor of the Good Friday agreement – an international treaty lodged with the United Nations as are the British government….
“It is not alarmism, we don’t take it for granted and we just get really really tired of people trying to say we are fearmongering. This is a clear and present danger to our peace process.”
Mr Richmond added: “We have looked at everything and we don’t think there are any technological solutions that allow no border to remain on the island of Ireland.
“And ultimately if those in the British government who say that there are solutions would actually be forthcoming and present some sort of solution it might help, but we have seen no detail from the British government.”
However, former Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers hit back saying: “I don’t think it’s justified to say that suddenly we are going to return to the Troubles over this issue.”
The intervention comes after EU Brexit chief Michel Barnier warned this week that border checks between Northern Ireland and the Republic would be “unavoidable” if the UK leaves the single market and the customs union.