Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Questions (109)

Joan Burton


109. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the steps taken by the Revenue Commissioners to protect customs officers stationed on or close to the Border from attacks; if he has considered arming customs officers as is practice in other countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14314/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

I am informed by Revenue that their preparations do not include any plans for infrastructure at the border. Revenue Chairman, Niall Cody, reiterated this when he addressed the Oireachtas Finance Committee on 24 January 2019. Revenue plans are focused on East West trade. Infrastructure requirements, IT enhancements, recruitment and training on this basis are well-advanced.

The Government has made it clear that its overriding objective is to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. Ireland and the EU are at one on this. The EU has been clear that it is determined to do all it can, deal or no deal, to avoid the need for a border and to protect the peace process. And as co-guarantors, the two Governments will continue to have our obligations under the Good Friday Agreement, and to ensure peace and stability in Northern Ireland

In the event of no-deal, then there will be intensive discussions between the Government, the EU Commission and EU partners regarding the movement of goods North-South. I am assured by Revenue that they will provide whatever technical expertise and assistance is required by the government negotiating team during this process.

In terms of security and safety, An Garda Síochána is responsible for the security of the State and any issues relating to the safety and security of Customs Officers or Customs facilities are addressed to that organisation.