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Justice Minister warns of ‘turbulence’ along border in the event of no-deal Brexit

Justice Minister warns of ‘turbulence’ along border in the event of no-deal Brexit

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has warned he is anticipating a period of “turbulence” along the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit next month.

Such a move could have big implications for this area with many locals crossing the border to travel between home and work on a regular basis.

Mr Flanagan said regular meetings are ongoing between Irish authorities and the PSNI to “ensure that the security situation is not in any way adversely affected or jeopardised”.

He has reiterated the Government’s stance that there will be no infrastructure along the border but said protecting the integrity of the EU single market is a priority.

“Like my Government colleagues, I am watching the extraordinary scenes unfold in Westminster. It would be foolhardy of me to look into a crystal ball and make a prediction. Work in this department towards a no-deal Brexit continues and it is important that we don’t lose focus on that.”

Asked about potentially providing more policing and resources to the border area, he said: “I am talking to the Garda Commissioner about the situation post Brexit. Whether there is a deal, a soft Brexit, a hard Brexit, no deal, we are looking at a border situation.

“I am not preparing for any garda or police infrastructure at the border. There will be no hard border. Compliance with the terms and conditions of the Good Friday Agreement is paramount and of course the maintenance of the single market, (these) are priorities for the Government.

“However, I readily acknowledge a potential level of turbulence along the border area in the event of there being a hard Brexit or a no-deal Brexit, I have spoken to the commissioner about that.

“The commissioner has plans in that area. These plans coincide with the new national policing plan. In the northern region at the moment there are up to 1,500 members of An Garda Síochána. That is constantly reviewed by the commissioner and his team.

“There will be an armed support unit in Cavan to augment the armed support units in Dundalk and Ballyshannon. But this would be going ahead in any event because we need to counter what is a challenge in terms of organised crime along the border.”