- Title: UK's Brexit plans mean border controls unlikely - Ireland's Noonan
- Date: 19th January 2017
- Summary: DAVOS, SWITZERLAND (JANUARY 19, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DELEGATES AT CONGRESS HALL AT THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM (WEF) SIGN WHICH READS (In English) "WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM" (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH FINANCE MINISTER, MICHAEL NOONAN, SAYING: "It's far too early to say. If you look at Mrs. May speech she committed to the free travel area. Now if you commit to a common travel areas we've had for hundreds of years, well then it's really a common labour market as well. The fact that you can go to London should say you can work when you get there without paperwork. Then that settles the issue of the Irish and England. Irish and the UK." SIGN AT THE WEF (SOUNDBITE) (English) IRISH FINANCE MINISTER, MICHAEL NOONAN, SAYING: "It wasn't as strong on what she would like from the customs unit. She said it might be associate memberships. In other words she opened up a negotiating space, around customs units. And it's where that lands that will decide whether goods have to be checked on the border. But a lot of this can be done electronically now." HANDOUT LEAFLETS DELEGATES AT THE FORUM
- Embargoed: 2nd February 2017 17:06
- Keywords: Ireland Brexit Britain economy
- Location: DAVOS, SWITZERLAND
- City: DAVOS, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Topics: European Union,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015ZR0CW7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit plans are unlikely to lead to the re-establishment of a physical border or customs controls between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, Ireland's Finance Minister Michael Noonan told Reuters.
May said this week that Britain would not remain a full member of the European Union's customs union, potentially meaning a tighter border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, which will be Britain's only land frontier with the EU once it leaves the bloc.
However, May has pledged to find a practical solution to preserving a common travel area between Britain and Ireland that predates their EU membership, while also limiting immigration.
Asked if this would make customs controls likely along a border that 30,000 people cross each day to go to work, Noonan told Reuters: "I don't think so and it's far too early to say."
"If you look at Mrs May's speech, she committed to the free travel area (between Ireland and the UK). She wasn't as strong on what she would like from the customs union; she said it might be associate membership," Noonan said in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.
"In other words, she opened up a negotiating space around the customs union and it is where that lands that will decide whether goods have to be checked on the border. But a lot of this can be done electronically now."
Ireland's economy is widely considered at being most at risk from the departure of its key trading partner, but Noonan said trade data suggested there was no immediate impact and he expected an economic growth rate of "around 3.5 percent" to continue into the early 2020s.
In its most recent forecasts in October, Noonan's department said that gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.5 percent predicted for this year would slow to 2.8 percent by 2020 and 2.6 percent in 2021.
Noonan, who along with Prime Minister Enda Kenny is meeting senior executives in Davos to explore potential investment into Ireland, said Dublin had received around 100 "hard inquiries" from financial firms considering moving operations post-Brexit.
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