Irish boss says UK Brexit proposals are ‘not realistic’

Ireland’s biggest business group has described the UK’s proposals for the Irish border post-Brexit as “not realistic”, in the latest sign of Dublin’s frustrations over UK prime minister Theresa May’s approach to the region.

In a Brexit position paper published on Wednesday, the UK government said it was opposed to any physical infrastructure — including customs posts or cameras — being installed at the Irish border, even after the UK leaves the European customs union.

The paper contains no proposal for how to stop EU nationals from crossing the 310-mile land border into the UK illegally. It instead emphasises deterring migrants by “controlling access to the labour market and social security”. It suggests that untested tracking mechanisms could be used to ensure imports are correctly taxed.

Ian Talbot, chief executive of business group Chambers Ireland, said: “It’s not realistic for the UK government to say they are content to have an open border, when they know that cannot be facilitated within EU law.”

He added that the EU and the UK appeared to “have very different ideas of what is workable, with Ireland caught in the middle”.

The Irish government has said it will study the UK’s position paper. Dublin has become increasingly impatient with the vagueness of the UK’s proposals for the border, where any police or customs checks would bring uncomfortable reminders of violent periods in recent decades.

Leo Varadkar, the recently-elected Taoiseach, said last month that Ireland would not “design a border for the Brexiteers”.

Both Ireland and the EU

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