Challenge to Europe Minister to pay for customs checks at Welsh ports following BREXIT
Eluned Morgan AM today challenged the Europe Minister David Jones to make a promise to pay for any infrastructure and staffing which will be needed at Welsh ports if and when the UK leaves the EU.
The AM for Mid and West Wales made the challenge following a visit to Fishguard Port where the Route Manager of Irish Sea South for Stena Line set out the obstacles that the port would face if the EU left the Customs Union.
The Labour AM said
“It is clear that the UK Government has not given the first thought to the implications of leaving the EU on the movement of Irish goods and people into Wales.
There is a real danger that if there is a hard border with Wales, but a soft border with Northern Ireland that freight will be transported via the easier borderless route from Belfast to Liverpool or Cairnryan to Larne.”
Eluned Morgan added
“400 lorries an hour pour off the ferry at Holyhead, and in the summer we welcome crowds of tourists from the Irish Republic to Wales through Fishguard and Pembroke Dock. If we were outside the Customs Union, it is hard to see how these goods and people could be let in without being inspected. In order to do that the port would have to create an immense infrastructure to park all 400 lorries.
“There are no customs buildings so these would need to be built within the next two years if we are heading for a hard BREXIT and there are no people employed to check passports. If the Government is intent on heading for a hard BREXIT which will inflict immense damage on our economy, it needs to set out in practical terms how it intends to cope with the fall out. That means more money, more infrastructure and more red tape, exactly the opposite of what was promised in the referendum.”
EU citizens will still have the right to live and work in Ireland.
If as suggested the UK Government wishes to maintain a free travel area between the Republic and the UK they need to explain how they will stop non Irish EU citizens from entering Wales.