Revealed: EU deliberately prevented Irish Customs bosses from sorting out N.I. border four years ago

Irish Customs heads saw no need for a hard border, but were quashed by the EU

© Facts4EU.Org 2021

Facts4EU.Org presents testimony of Irish Republic’s Customs, leaving no doubt that EU manufactured this issue

Informing the World about the EU's vindictive 'Northern Ireland Protocol'
Part Three of a series of reports demonstrating the EU's true nature

The full series:-
Part One - The Protocol itself     |   Part Two - How the EU has threatened peace    |   Part Three - Irish Customs overruled by EU (this report)    |   Part Four - UK Customs stopped from solution by EU    |   Part Five - Trade involved is minuscule

In this third part of our exposé of the EU’s ‘Northern Ireland Protocol’ which is threatening peace in Northern Ireland and splitting the United Kingdom, Facts4EU.Org reveals the shocking evidence given by those who were actually in charge of developing simple solutions at the time.

We show how the experts in charge of dealing with the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were at one. From their own words readers will be able to discern very quickly from the Heads of the Customs operations of each country that the border issue was only ever an artificial device from the EU:-

  • Used by the EU to punish the UK for voting to leave its empire by siphoning off part of the UK’s territory, and
  • Used by the Irish government in its moves to take over Northern Ireland by stealth

The EU prevented those in charge from even talking to each other to provide a simple solution

Below we show how those whose responsibility it was to police the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were prevented by the EU – with the full collusion of the Irish government – from even talking.

We start with testimony from Irish Customs. (Tomorrow we will reveal how the UK Customs bosses agreed with their Irish counterparts.) The top individuals responsible for Irish Customs were questioned one week apart, and below we quote the key passages relating to the various headings relevant to the whole N.I. border question.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org Summary

PLEASE NOTE: These are the IRISH customs officials,
giving testimony to the IRISH parliament in 2017

Testimonies were given on the basis that the entire UK (including Northern Ireland) would be OUT of the Single Market, and OUT of the Customs Union

Q: “Will somebody who gets on a train in Dublin still be able to travel to Belfast without checks somewhere along the way?”
Mr. Niall Cody (Chairman of the Board of the Irish Revenue Commissioners): “I certainly expect so.”
Q: “Okay. It is really about the trade and goods rather than the people.”

Mr Niall Cody: “…The margins are such that there will be cross-Border shopping but it will not put a hole in the Exchequer receipts.… However, we have always had to address them while we have been part of the Single Market, because of excise duty differentials on high volume stuff.”

Photo right: Mr. Niall Cody, Chairman of the Board of the Irish Revenue Commissioners,
© Irish Revenue

Liam Irwin (Irish Revenue Commissioner): “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.”

Photo right: Mr. Liam Irwin, then Irish Revenue Commissioner
© Irish Revenue

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.”
Liam Irwin: “We are not in any form of negotiation or even having any discussion with the UK at this point.”
Q: “Could Mr. Cody clarify whether there is a legal impediment to negotiations between us and-----”
Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs): “Yes.”
Q: “-----so we can have discussions but not negotiations?”
Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs): “The European Union will be negotiating with the United Kingdom in regard to Brexit.”
Q: “We cannot do that as a single member state.”
Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs): “No. Revenue would not be a party to negotiations of that type anyway. We implement the policy and the law. The Department of Finance would lead on fiscal policy. HM Revenue & Customs is like ourselves in this regard.”
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.”
Mr. Niall Cody (Irish Customs): “Food integrity is clearly a major challenge, and the agrifood sector will need careful handling. It is primarily one of the areas that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will lead on. There is an integrated nature to the supply chain of the agrifood sector, which is probably the biggest sectoral challenge. It is interesting in the context of the task force as this issue is primarily driven by environmental health, so DG SANTE leads in that regard, and we are kind of subcontractors after the event. Nobody underestimates the challenge that Brexit brings but we will be starting from a position of an equivalence of standards. As Mr. Keegan argues, when somebody leaves the club, equivalence changes over time. That is an asset challenge but we will be a support to agriculture in that area.”
Q: “Let me give an example of a haulier who has a truck going to France via the Border. Mr. Cody has outlined the role of Revenue at the Border. What will happen when this truck crosses into Northern Ireland, travels to England and crosses to France? Could Mr. Cody say how many checks a truck would have to undergo on that journey?”
Mr. Niall Cody: “It would depend on whether the United Kingdom is part of the common transit arrangement. If it were part of the common transit area, there is a facility whereby a truck leaving Dublin can go under the transit arrangement to its final destination in France.”
Q: “Would it have been checked once?”
Mr. Niall Cody: “It would probably not have been checked at all.”

In tomorrow's edition we will reveal the testimony of the head of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who goes much further about this.


Border officials not allowed to talk to each other

Mr Cody, head of the Irish Revenue, stated that effectively they were not allowed to talk to their counterparts in the UK about the Irish border. This was back in 2017, four years ago, when there was still plenty of time to agree technical solutions to the north-south border and before any 'Northern Ireland Protocol' had been agreed.

In our Sunday edition tomorrow, Facts4EU.Org will demonstrate via the testimony of the head of HMRC to the UK Parliament that talks between the Customs organisations on each side of the border were terminated - despite the officers wanting to discuss and agree light touch regulation.

There were no plans for border infrastructure because it wasn't going to be needed

Perhaps one of the most illuminating parts of the two encounters which the heads of Irish Customs and Excise had with the Dáil Éireann (Irish parliament) in 2017 was the question of border controls. Despite TDs (MPs) doing their utmost to get the Customs officials to describe a calamitous post-Brexit situation with a hard border having to be introduced, the Customs bosses would have none of it.

Instead they talked of zero infrastructure being needed at the border, the vast bulk of cross border trade being processed electronically, and of the extended use of 'trusted trader' status. Never at any stage did they indicate any sense of alarm, nor did they suggest that the technology was not available and was not already being used. Naturally systems would change and need to be enhanced, but the Customs organisations quite rightly saw this as something they would sort out.

This contrasts with the nonsense coming out of Brussels (and Dublin) at the time and to this day. The EU Commission and Irish government both said that the technology and systems were not available and that the only way to prevent a hard border was with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

This simply wasn't - and isn't - true. This was ideological on the part of the EU.

As Niall Cody, head of Irish Customs said: "We implement the policy and the law." It was the politicians and the bureaucrats in Brussels who interfered and who decided to use the virtually non-existent issue of the border to create the monster that is the Northern Ireland Protocol. It is clear from the testimony of the HMRC (in tomorrow's edition) that left to their own devices the Customs organisations on each side of the border could easily have developed simple solutions with no impact on the Good Friday Agreement.

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[ Sources: The Dáil (Irish Parliament) | Irish Revenue Commissioners ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.

Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Sat 12 Jun 2021

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