THERE will be checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea after Brexit, the UK Government has confirmed.
It comes six months after Boris Johnson was filmed telling Northern Ireland business leaders that they can put customs declarations forms “in the bin” because there will be “no barriers of any kind”.
Westminster officials, in a letter to the executive office in Stormont, stated there will be border checks at three Northern Irish ports – Belfast, Warrenpoint and Larne.
Executive office junior minister Declan Kearney told a select committee in Belfast that the UK Government had issued a briefing on Monday.
He said: “The sum total of that, and without breaching executive confidentiality … [is that the] British government has confirmed it will urgently put in place detailed plans with the executive, which does include the physical posts at ports of entry.”
In November, the Prime Minister suggested Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay had been wrong to say goods between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK would face checks as a result of the Brexit deal struck with the European Union.
The Tory leader, in a video shared on Twitter, said there would be “no forms, no checks, no barriers of any kind” as a result of his withdrawal agreement.
READ MORE: Johnson tells Northern Ireland businesses to ‘bin’ customs forms
Commenting on the confirmation that there will in fact be check, a Cabinet Office spokesman said: “We have always been clear that there will be requirements for live animals and agri-food, building on what already happens at ports like Larne and Belfast.
“We want to work with NI businesses and the executive to ensure new admin procedures are streamlined and efficient. The protocol puts legal obligations on both sides. We are committed to complying with ours, just as we expect the EU to comply with theirs.”
Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard demanded that Downing Street stand by its Brexit commitments.
He told the Guardian: “The British government cannot be allowed to renege on their legal obligations and must now work with the EU and the executive to ensure those commitments are fulfilled as a matter of urgency.”