“Cars being stopped and searched is not going to happen”

Whilst the BBC quote, at length, the concerns about a post-Brexit border of “a former customs officer in Donegal” whom they interviewed on Radio Foyle, the Irish Revenue Commissioner’s lead official on the topic has been speaking at a conference on Brexit in Dublin organised by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce.  From the Irish Times report

The operation of a post-Brexit customs regime can be automated and simplified and does not need customs points with Northern Ireland, the Revenue Commissioner’s lead official on the topic has said.

Tony Buckley, the assistant secretary in charge of customs, said the new plan will involve a type of self-assessment and audit regime, possibly with, for convenience reasons, services offices close to the Border.

What exactly would happen at these services offices or facilitation posts would not be clear until negotiations had been completed between the UK and the EU on their new relationship.

“Cars being stopped and searched is not going to happen,” he told a conference on Brexit in Dublin. “There is no reason for it to happen.”

Asked if he envisaged a system such as the one that exists between Norway and Sweden, he said that border involved delays of approximately 15 or 20 minutes for trucks,.“We’re looking at that in seconds.”

Because a border was being built “from nothing” there was an opportunity to use very sophisticated tracking and surveillance systems that satisfied the EU, managed the risk, and achieved the Government’s objective of a “very soft borer”.

Mr Buckley said the new regime would probably give rise to temporary criminal and economic issues that would have to be dealt with. However, he said, overall Ireland has two big advantages in terms of dealing with the new situation.

The Republic’s trade with Northern Ireland is only 2 per cent of all exports, and Ireland is an island at one end of the EU without another land border. If something comes into Ireland, it is in Ireland and that’s it, he says.

The post-Brexit regime could involve checks being carried out away from the Border.

The border had approximately 300 crossing points, with 1 million heavy goods vehicles, 1.3 million light goods vehicles, and 12.5 million cars, going each way each year.

What would happen post-Brexit is that parties moving goods across the Border would have to lodge documents with the two customs authorities, which they would put into a computerised risk-assessment system.

There would also be random checks on trucks, and checks for certain risky items and traders. This might involve about 2 per cent of all traffic. For another 6 per cent of all traffic, there might be simple document checks.

Mr Buckley told the conference, organised by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Eversheds Sutherland, that 85 per cent of all imports and exports are handled by authorised economic operators, such as DHL and FedEx. Physical checks can be carried out within authorised premises operated by these companies.

The practical difficulties of searching 40ft refrigerated trucks along the Border was not something anyone wanted to contemplate, he said. “So let’s not do it.”

  • NotNowJohnny

    I have really no idea when it will happen. If ever.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The point of destroying the CTA is that English ultranationalists don’t like any foreigners. Welsh, Scots, Irish and the British people of Ulster too.

    The only ones who mention any threat to the CTA are the British who are simultaneously the biggest threat to it.

    The Republic of Ireland wants free movement of people from the EU and the Common Travel Area. That is their soverign decision, and I fail to see a need to surrender any of that soverignty to London.

    If that is incompatible with the British government’s demands, why would Brussels or Dublin be a bigger threat to the CTA than a backsliding British government?

    Surely the CTA threat is the UK using it trying to coerce Irish migration policy?

  • Kevin Breslin

    Raising the coefficient of friction is economically costly. Particularly for refrigerated goods.

  • Surveyor

    Could happen fall of the Berlin Wall style. Quickly and unexpectedly.

  • NotNowJohnny

    I don’t think it can happen that quickly. There’ll be a trend towards it happening. Then there’ll be calls for a poll then there’ll be some pussyfooting by the SOS. Then there may well be a court case and a ruling. Then the poll date will be set for some months in the future. Then there’ll need to be two polls. And if both polls are in favour of a UI, negotiations will start. And following negotiations the law will need to be changed in both jurisdictions which will likely take an entire parliamentary session. And then a date will be set some months in the future. So, no I don’t think it can happen Berlin Wall style although I understand why those who don’t understand the process may think that.

  • john millar

    “People are forgetting that it will be the EU who will determine where checkpoints and custom posts will be, not London or Dublin. ”
    Cease these sensible comments – you are only upsetting preconceptions

  • john millar

    Clearly you have not grasped the fact that a fiscal border exists Guinness and others give a notice of transfer to NI via road and rail. These transfers are subject to check and papers and duty payment made Belfast Transfers are confirmed to the Revenue Commissioners in Dublin There is comprehensive mutual audit system The same procedures will apply after the UK exits EU

  • Katyusha

    When I worked for an engineering firm in the north that did most of its business in the south, john, there was no “fiscal border” Any record keeping was entirely of our own volition. If Guniness keep good internal records, then good on them.

    You make it sound like it is impossible to obtain alcohol in Northern Ireland without paying UK duty, which is, of course, a fiction.

  • john millar

    Please then explain why Guineas pay beer duty in N Ireland? It is impossible to obtain alcohol in NI LEGALLY without paying UK duty You could of course buy duty paid alcohol in the ROI and bring it into NI – since booze is more expensive in the ROI.not a good idea?
    I suggest you revisit your engineering emp!oyer and examine how they treated VAT you will find that they
    1 Made monthly declarations of transfers to the ROI to HMRC
    2 Identified the customer in the ROI
    3 These declarations were subject to audit including audit in the RoI
    Best to know what you are taking about

  • Katyusha

    Mate, you don’t know what you’re talking about yourself.
    Yes, you do have to declare VAT and VAT numbers when you ship into the RoI. If you’re smart about it you’ll game the system and allow your customer to claim back VAT, thereby offering them a service at reduced prices. You declare VAT if it is profitable to your your customer to do so.
    Do you really look at the economy in rural NI and the rampant corruption scandals in the RoI and think that everything is as it says on the books? The misreporting in Ireland is so rampant that it nearly bankrupted the economy wrt Anglo and their customers.

  • john millar

    Er people in the ROI cannot claim back UK Vat who would they claim it back from ? Only those in the UK who are registered with HMRC can operate VAT
    Your knowledge of taxation structures is appalling

  • John Spence

    As can shopkeepers, bin men, florists, bar staff. Point is customs don’t deal with immigration, so no reason to mention it

  • John Spence

    Completely wrong.
    Only those who pose an imminent threat can be denied entry. What you said is nonsense. Courts can deport, but entry cannot be denied.

    The rest of your comment is just party politics, which is fine but shouldn’t be confused with any level of knowledge of the subject.

    I’m confident I know a lot more about immigration than you have picked up from Google, so ask and I’ll try to help.

  • John Spence


    You should probably comment on something you have a basic level of knowledge about, it’s zero on this, everything 100% wrong. You are a low information individual.

  • Kevin Breslin

    John I would say that I have far more skepticism of your source of information than you do of mine. In fact I would seriously doubt you would bother even with Google research. Your confidence is nothing more than arrogance and hate, is based on hearsay and agitprop.

    I’ve worked with migrants, I’ve spoken to migrants, even ones who live on the street. They have told me first hand how difficult it is to get anything here. Undocumented migrants cannot get entry even if they are from the EU. Those who pose ANY threat can be denied entry and it is security cooperation with the EU that does that.

    My general impression is that in these times we natives are more a threat to them than they are to us. Kippers want to vet migrants, yet last week Farage said that if his party that is 3% in the polls does not get what he wants he’ll resort to armed violence. Who’s vetting him?

  • ted hagan

    A feeble response. Explain the fears of a hard border then and why Brokenshire is pressing for British immigration officials to be posted at Irish ports rather than casting aspersons; As I said, do your home work.

  • John Spence

    Don’t be stupid. I have said noting hateful at all. This started when I called you out for mocking the knowledge of someone else on customs matters, when it’s clear you know very little about them yourself. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

    My source of information is years working in Immigration and Customs, not Google or the press.

    EU citizens can only be excluded if they are a present threat, basically that means you have to have intelligence they intend to commit an offence.

    I understand your political position, and the case you argue, but I’m afraid that doesn’t mean you have a significant knowledge of these matters, you don’t.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Years working in Immigration & Customs within the EU, does not provide any experience in what happens between an EU non EU land border.

    The information is getting into the public domain and the more it does, the more the know it all Nigels will get exposed as making things up.

    Why have over 6000 EU/EEA nationals who were deported from the UK because of committing serious crimes such as terrorism and smuggling.



    We know what the Know it all Nigels want … and it’s a profiling exercise rather than intelligent scrutiny…

    Muslim = Risk Factor,
    Arab/Middle Eastern = Risk Factor,
    Eastern European = Risk Factor,
    Middle Aged Man = Risk Factor,
    Dark Skin = Risk Factor,
    Asian/African = Risk Factor
    Not Fluent in English = Risk Factor.

    Remember Jean Charles de Menezes?

  • The Living End

    And those figures were from a long time ago. I imagine traffic has increased significantly since we last had a hard border

  • The Living End

    Hilarious! You refer disparagingly to our “EU masters” who in reality have SOME say in how we live our lives, while you have no problems with your GB masters who have ABSOLUTE CONTROL over how you live yours.

    None so blind …

  • The Living End

    “You are a low information individual”

    Thats an astounding level of arrogance, even for slugger!

  • The Living End

    Is it agitprop, or normal politicking? Would Labour/Tories/GOP/Democrats/whoever not make as much of a meal of an opponents gaff?

    Check out ‘get me Roger Stone’ on Netflix

  • murdockp

    No that a commercial drone can carry 2 – 3 kg, why would anyone in their right mind use a car?

    Please god common sense prevails, but if ISIS has taught us one thin, in the conventions of civil war that we experienced up to the SFA are no redundant. Let us hope and prey the Pandora’s box is kept well a truly closed by all politicians as the results are to horrific to even contemplate.

  • murdockp

    As was famously said recently in the US, “show me a 50 foot wall and I will show you a 51 foot ladder”.

    The problem in Ireland is the smugglers are smarter than the authorities

    Last week lads did not even get a custodial for fuel laundry. This guys must be secretly praying for a border, because when it comes to policing it:-

    Show me police patrols and I will show you drones.

    Show me air surveillance to combat the drones and I will show you tunnels

    Show me tunnels and I will show you mini submarines

    Show me surveillance tracking and I will show you carrier pigeons

    Brexit is a smugglers charter.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Really … You mean economic barriers not just with the Republic of Ireland but the REST OF EUROPE costing jobs is less important than people marching down the road or a flag up on a building?

    How did Northern Ireland be so skewed not to have voted 100% DUP where the economic activity of Northern Ireland must always have said party taking a slice of the cake.

    No matter what is iced on it.