In an astonishing exposure of how the Irish Government denied the existence of there being no border infrastructure needed, Brexit Facts4EU.Org
can present the testimonies given in 2017 to a Committee of the Irish Parliament by the senior members of the Irish Revenue & Customs and by the Taoiseach’s Brexit adviser.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary. Testimonies were given on the basis the entire UK would be OUT of the Single Market, and OUT of the Customs Union. The three people questioned were:-Niall Cody, Chairman of the Board of the Irish Revenue Commissioners, Liam Irwin, then Irish Revenue Commissioner, and John Callinan, Head of Economic, International & Northern Ireland Division, Taoiseach Department.
These official Irish Government experts said:-No checks at the border will be required; Declarations will be electronic, customs checks at warehouses and away from the border; No plans for anything along the border; 82% of goods imports are already under the system proposed by the UK.
“The EU and the Irish Government only like experts who give the ‘right’ answers. The testimony of these three Irish State experts was not helpful to the EU nor to the Irish Government. They show that the UK Government’s assertion that the Irish border issue can be solved by relatively simple measures – most of which actually apply today – are correct.
“Readers may well ask why these expert testimonies were not publicised. Well, we tried several times. Readers may also ask why they did not immediately result in the necessary preparations being made over two years ago.
“These are the IRISH customs officials, giving testimony to the IRISH parliament. ON THE NATURE OF THE NEW BORDER. Liam Irwin: “Whatever happens, it is clear that a border with the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, would not be what we saw in 1993 just because customs have moved on and become electronic.”
“We are planning for trade facilitation, enabling goods to move. We have absolutely no plans for anything along the Border at this stage. We are examining what the various forms of declaration might be, primarily or almost exclusively electronic, with anything requiring inspection being signalled for inspection somewhere in general proximity to the Border, but if I were to hazard a guess, not on the Border.”
Q: “Revenue has identified several locations where customs posts could be erected in–”. Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “That is not true.”
Q: “That is not true?”
Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “That is not true.”
Q: “Is Revenue looking at several suitable locations?”
Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “We are not currently looking at any locations. No planning has reached that stage. We are examining what we might need in terms of infrastructure but not where it might be. We are not looking at sites-”
Q: “What does that mean? The witness said it would be beside the Border but not on the Border. What does that mean?”
Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “It would be in some proximity to the Border. It might be 10 km or 15 km back from the Border.”
Q: “Would it be a facility? What is the purpose of it?”
Mr. Liam Irwin (Irish Customs): “Declarations would be electronic. Electronic facilitation could be done using anything from a big computer system to apps on a mobile device such as a tablet or a phone. Most transactions would be immediately approved and that would be the end of that. There would be free movement for those items thereafter. Perhaps 6% to 8% of items, mainly comprising container traffic—–”
Q: “Would be diverted to this facility?”
Mr. Liam Irwin: “—-would be diverted. Based on current experience, most of those items would be diverted for a documentary check and a small number sent for physical inspection. There would not be customs stops on the Border such as applied until 1992 as described by the Deputy. That is not the process we envisage. Declarations will be electronic. The stations will be there mainly for trade facilitation to clarify issues. There would be some form of customs intervention but not at those stations. It would probably comprise mobile intervention of some consignments, either randomly or randomly with risk rating. The trade facilitation station will be very different from the customs stations the Deputy remembers.”
Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs): “In 2016, 6% of import declarations were checked and less than 2% were physically checked. The vast majority of these checks were carried out in approved warehouses and other premises with a very small number at a port or airport. The low level of import checks is the result of pre-authorisation of traders, advance lodgement of declarations and an extensive system of post-clearance checks, including customs audit, which are carried out at traders’ premises.” “Authorised economic operators, AEOs, have a special status in the system and under agreed protocols are allowed to operate greatly simplified customs procedures. There are currently 133 AEOs, which account for 82% of all imports and 89% of exports. It will be very important that the bulk of trade continues to be through AEOs after Brexit.”
It is now EU policy for customs across the EU to be managed electronically.
Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs) “The EU policy is to go to an IT-based customs process that is totally paperless. The Vice President of the European Commission gave a speech at the European Parliament last week about evaluating customs performance and management as a tool to facilitate trade and fight illicit trade.”
Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs) “Under EU treaties, customs policy is a competence of the Commission. The law governing customs, the Union customs code, was introduced in 2016. The administration of controls is a matter for national administrations provided that the systems in use satisfactorily address any risk to the EU”.
There is more of this report, to follow.