Need for a reality check on alternative border arrangements, says Farry

Alliance Deputy Leader Stephen Farry MLA has said there is a need for a ‘reality check,’ after a report suggested a single food standards zone for the UK and Ireland to avoid border checks.

The Alternative Arrangements report, backed by Conservative MPs Nicky Morgan and Greg Hands, includes a proposal for a single zone for food standards, which would have rules closely aligned with the EU to minimise the prospect of any border checks when entering continental Europe.

“There is a need for a reality check for those backing this paper, who think they can cook up fantastical solutions to replicate the current arrangements Northern Ireland enjoys asn an EU member,” said Dr Farry.

“The proposals in this paper don’t deal in reality, instead wasting time as the clock ticks down towards another cliff edge. The paper itself acknowledges the technology some claim as a solution doesn’t exist yet.

“The idea Ireland as a member state would opt out of elements of the single market, and indeed the EU itself would allow the integrity of the single market to be comprised, are fanciful. If the UK wants to leave the EU, either all of the UK or Northern Ireland specifically needs to be part of the same customs zone as the EU and have sufficient regulatory alignment.

“Ultimately, it is impossible to replicate the current arrangements we enjoy from being a member of the EU. Brexit jeopardises the all-island economy and the access to the single market businesses have. These proposals serve to further underline and highlight the need for banking the backstop as an absolute minimum.”