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What’s the point in the backstop if we get a hard border either way?

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  • 26-01-2019 10:57pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 49


    They say if there is a hard brexit then it is inevitable that there will be a hard border on this island. The Irish Government refuse to budge on the backstop which might cause a softer brexit. My question is what’s the point if there is going to be a hard border either way. Can anyone shed light on this ?


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,160 ✭✭✭✭Geuze


    There won't be a customs border if the WA is passed by the UK parliament, AFAIK.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 18,272 CMod ✭✭✭✭Nody


    They say if there is a hard brexit then it is inevitable that there will be a hard border on this island. The Irish Government refuse to budge on the backstop which might cause a softer brexit. My question is what’s the point if there is going to be a hard border either way. Can anyone shed light on this ?
    There are three options:

    1) No deal ("hard brexit") - Default hard border goes up
    2) Deal with time limit on border - UK simply ignores it and you get a hard border in X years time anyway
    3) Requirement of a permanent backstop in place that actually works that UK has to agree to get any deal with EU (current option)

    Now the reason why 3 matters is simple; UK will come back with a request for further deals after Brexit (esp. hard brexit) and guess what EU and Ireland can put as a requirement for any such deals to come into effect? Hence while a hard border is likely by having that as a requirement UK will end up giving up on it down the line simply because NI's value is far less to UK than the EU deal will be. Short term pain for long term gain were as a temporary deal is only can kicking as UK will do nothing to fix the issue anyway and you're back to square one only a few years down the line with the relevant deals already signed and hence lose pressure on UK to sort it out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,456 ✭✭✭touts


    I think there is a very real possibility that both the EU and UK dig their heels in and come April 1st the EU say to Ireland put up a hard border or we will shut you out of the common market until you do. European solidarity will suddenly twist against us it the UK are gone and we then find ourselves the ones out of step with the rest of the EU.

    The problem is we basically can't seal off the border. It's too big and our customs/Gardai/army are too few. There is barely 2 months left and it would take closer to 2 years than 2 months to put the people and infrastructure in place. But the EU won't care because they will be aware that they don't want to set a precedent for its other borders in the east. It'll be put up the border or we hit you with sanctions and tariffs for not complying with EU regulations.

    Then for a period Irish companies could find tariffs on their goods going into both the UK and EU. We'll basically be caught in a crossfire between the EU and UK. Eventually one of them will give in and a deal will be struck BUT that could take several weeks or months and by that time many small to medium Irish businesses will be bankrupt. The UK don't give a damn about us and the EU will be focused on maintaining the big picture and we're the small picture.

    Basically we're going to get screwed and no one will care because we're not big enough to matter.


  • Registered Users Posts: 10,117 ✭✭✭✭Junkyard Tom


    It's like having a nuke. You have no intention of using your nuke but the fact that your neighbours know you have it changes their behaviour. The nuke only has the ability to affect your neighbours' behaviour if they know you're fully prepared to use it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,070 ✭✭✭Franz Von Peppercorn


    touts wrote: »
    I think there is a very real possibility that both the EU and UK dig their heels in and come April 1st the EU say to Ireland put up a hard border or we will shut you out of the common market until you do. European solidarity will suddenly twist against us it the UK are gone and we then find ourselves the ones out of step with the rest of the EU.

    The problem is we basically can't seal off the border. It's too big and our customs/Gardai/army are too few. There is barely 2 months left and it would take closer to 2 years than 2 months to put the people and infrastructure in place. But the EU won't care because they will be aware that they don't want to set a precedent for its other borders in the east. It'll be put up the border or we hit you with sanctions and tariffs for not complying with EU regulations.

    Then for a period Irish companies could find tariffs on their goods going into both the UK and EU. We'll basically be caught in a crossfire between the EU and UK. Eventually one of them will give in and a deal will be struck BUT that could take several weeks or months and by that time many small to medium Irish businesses will be bankrupt. The UK don't give a damn about us and the EU will be focused on maintaining the big picture and we're the small picture.

    Basically we're going to get screwed and no one will care because we're not big enough to matter.

    That’s all fantastical nonsense. The border doesn’t have to be completely policed, we do what we can. There’s not going to be a tariff between Ireland and the EU.

    I mean what mechanism do you think would apply there? Ireland would be semi kicked out of the EU, do you think that’s even constitutional?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,456 ✭✭✭touts


    That’s all fantastical nonsense. The border doesn’t have to be completely policed, we do what we can. There’s not going to be a tariff between Ireland and the EU.

    I mean what mechanism do you think would apply there? Ireland would be semi kicked out of the EU, do you think that’s even constitutional?

    Do you think Brussels will just let Ireland violate some core rules of the union with the likes of Italy Hungary and Greece looking on. Now THAT is fantastical nonsense.


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 3,246 ✭✭✭judeboy101


    touts wrote: »
    I think there is a very real possibility that both the EU and UK dig their heels in and come April 1st the EU say to Ireland put up a hard border or we will shut you out of the common market until you do. European solidarity will suddenly twist against us it the UK are gone and we then find ourselves the ones out of step with the rest of the EU.

    The problem is we basically can't seal off the border. It's too big and our customs/Gardai/army are too few. There is barely 2 months left and it would take closer to 2 years than 2 months to put the people and infrastructure in place. But the EU won't care because they will be aware that they don't want to set a precedent for its other borders in the east. It'll be put up the border or we hit you with sanctions and tariffs for not complying with EU regulations.

    Then for a period Irish companies could find tariffs on their goods going into both the UK and EU. We'll basically be caught in a crossfire between the EU and UK. Eventually one of them will give in and a deal will be struck BUT that could take several weeks or months and by that time many small to medium Irish businesses will be bankrupt. The UK don't give a damn about us and the EU will be focused on maintaining the big picture and we're the small picture.

    Basically we're going to get screwed and no one will care because we're not big enough to matter.

    We can seal the border 100%, we choose not to for moral and ethical reasons.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,219 ✭✭✭Calina


    Backstop means no hard border. Otherwise, absolutely anything else less than single market membership and customs union membership means border related checks.

    The UK does not want sm and cu membership. They will guarantee a hard border. Do not be taken in by their honey sweet promises here. They have already welched on agreement twice.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 8,723 ✭✭✭nice_guy80


    We've plenty of army personnel sitting in barracks doing sfa

    For a short term solution they can support customs officials

    The gardai and soldiers years ago wanted to be posted to the border as there was a nice allowance paid


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,050 ✭✭✭joeguevara


    How come there is no hard border between Switzerland and all the EU countries that they border with? is there a difference?


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  • Posts: 17,378 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]


    joeguevara wrote: »
    How come there is no hard border between Switzerland and all the EU countries that they border with? is there a difference?

    Yes, a huge difference.

    Switzerland has a slew of agreements along with freedom of movement. They have a border and customs for goods but agree to follow all EU standards so the process is more straight forward than a diverging UK.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,219 ✭✭✭Calina


    joeguevara wrote: »
    How come there is no hard border between Switzerland and all the EU countries that they border with? is there a difference?

    There is a much harder border between France and Switzerland right now than there is between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,050 ✭✭✭joeguevara


    Calina wrote: »
    There is a much harder border between France and Switzerland right now than there is between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    That wouldn’t be hard as there is currently no border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,219 ✭✭✭Calina


    joeguevara wrote: »
    That wouldn’t be hard as there is currently no border between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

    Uhem, exactly.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,050 ✭✭✭joeguevara


    Calina wrote: »
    Uhem, exactly.

    Yes exactly. A 3 foot garden fence as a border in Switzerland would still be a much harder border than we have here. I don’t get your point.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,696 ✭✭✭ArthurDayne


    joeguevara wrote: »
    How come there is no hard border between Switzerland and all the EU countries that they border with? is there a difference?

    There are pretty big differences.

    Firstly, Switzerland does have a hard border with its neighbours. Just because it is soft in some places does not change the fact that there are many border crossings there with physical customs infrastructure dealing mainly with heavy vehicles like cargo trucks, and occasionally light vehicles too. Even if a Swiss arrangement for the border was possible (which it isn't because of Brexiteer redlines) it still seems unlikely that the major arterial crossings would not have physical customs infrastructure -- unless these magical technological solutions are pulled out of a hat within a couple of months.

    Secondly, Switzerland is not a member of the EU but has a very tight relationship with its laws and regulations. It is part of the Schengen area, it participates in the single market (it is effectively a member of the single market in all but name) and it adopts a policy of maintaining its law and regulations in a way which aligns strongly to EU law. The Brexiteers however are advocating regulatory divergence, lest the exercise of Brexit render Britain a rule-taker rather than a rule-maker etc etc etc ad nauseum. Divergence makes borders more likely to be hard.

    Thirdly, the Swiss border is a well-defined political and national border which is not subject to the same kind of political dispute as the Irish one. If you drive from Dundalk to Crossmaglen you will meet Irish people, with Irish passports, who are recognised under both Irish and British law as Irish nationals. One of the major, major successes of the peace process was that it allowed Irish people in the North to operate with the South with such a degree of seamlessness both socially and commercially that their Irish identity was effectively given full effect (or as close as possible) even if they remained part of the UK. This kind of paradigm differs greatly from that of Switzerland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,050 ✭✭✭joeguevara


    There are pretty big differences.

    Firstly, Switzerland does have a hard border with its neighbours. Just because it is soft in some places does not change the fact that there are many border crossings there with physical customs infrastructure dealing mainly with heavy vehicles like cargo trucks, and occasionally light vehicles too. Even if a Swiss arrangement for the border was possible (which it isn't because of Brexiteer redlines) it still seems unlikely that the major arterial crossings would not have physical customs infrastructure -- unless these magical technological solutions are pulled out of a hat within a couple of months.

    Secondly, Switzerland is not a member of the EU but has a very tight relationship with its laws and regulations. It is part of the Schengen area, it participates in the single market (it is effectively a member of the single market in all but name) and it adopts a policy of maintaining its law and regulations in a way which aligns strongly to EU law. The Brexiteers however are advocating regulatory divergence, lest the exercise of Brexit render Britain a rule-taker rather than a rule-maker etc etc etc ad nauseum. Divergence makes borders more likely to be hard.

    Thirdly, the Swiss border is a well-defined political and national border which is not subject to the same kind of political dispute as the Irish one. If you drive from Dundalk to Crossmaglen you will meet Irish people, with Irish passports, who are recognised under both Irish and British law as Irish nationals. One of the major, major successes of the peace process was that it allowed Irish people in the North to operate with the South with such a degree of seamlessness both socially and commercially that their Irish identity was effectively given full effect (or as close as possible) even if they remained part of the UK. This kind of paradigm differs greatly from that of Switzerland.

    Very informative and explains a lot. Thanks for taking the time to post.


  • Registered Users Posts: 36,235 ✭✭✭✭LuckyLloyd


    They say if there is a hard brexit then it is inevitable that there will be a hard border on this island. The Irish Government refuse to budge on the backstop which might cause a softer brexit. My question is what’s the point if there is going to be a hard border either way. Can anyone shed light on this ?

    The point is that there is an important difference between Ireland having to make efforts to police a customs border in the event of a chaotic crash out Brexit and Ireland *agreeing* to any hardening of the border as part of negotiations.

    If Ireland allowed a withdrawal agreement to conclude that either accepted a hard border in certain circumstances or made no provision to keep it open in the event of a delay to a FTA, then the potential of a hard border would be leveraged by Britain during the FTA negotiations. And essentially Ireland would become leveraged during those negotiations.

    Therefore, the price for the UK of forming Brexit red lines in violation of their GFA responsibilities is necessarily a crash out Brexit and severe disruption to their economy. In such a scenario it is not implausible to see them come back to the negotiating table with the EU in short order, with a substantially weakened position. At that point, the backstop with an Irish Sea Border will be the first item on the agenda.

    So, as such, the difference is short term pain for a potential long term gain and the avoidance to agreeing / asserting to a severely problematic position for the foreseeable future. It is obviously ridiculous that UK politics is in such a bad state to force this matter, but here we are. It is vital to the long term interests of Ireland and the EU that the integrity of the SM be maintained.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,160 ✭✭✭✭Geuze


    joeguevara wrote: »
    How come there is no hard border between Switzerland and all the EU countries that they border with? is there a difference?

    There is a customs border between CH and EU.


  • Registered Users Posts: 95 ✭✭Kleine Hundin


    The Swiss border is closed to commercial traffic evenings and at weekends. There are crossings that are unmanned but commercial traffic entering or leaving are barred from using them.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 616 ✭✭✭Crock Rock


    Geuze wrote: »
    There won't be a customs border if the WA is passed by the UK parliament, AFAIK.


    What does WA stand for? I wish people woudln't post acronyms. It doesn't take even a few extra seconds to type out the full word.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 616 ✭✭✭Crock Rock


    Does that mean that most of the EU rules that were implemented will cease to exist in Ireland?

    The gender ruling on Insurance and pensions?
    Free roaming?
    Healthcare across the EU?
    Free movement of people visa free?
    Fuck that.


    The British caused this mess, they can solve it. They should just offer a United Ireland referendum. I'm 100% pro-Europe and don't want our position in the union to be compromised.


  • Registered Users Posts: 736 ✭✭✭TCM


    judeboy101 wrote:
    We can seal the border 100%, we choose not to for moral and ethical reasons.


    The border cannot be sealed 100% How would that be achieved? There. Are 500 crossing points between north & south.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,057 ✭✭✭volchitsa


    touts wrote: »
    I think there is a very real possibility that both the EU and UK dig their heels in and come April 1st the EU say to Ireland put up a hard border or we will shut you out of the common market until you do. European solidarity will suddenly twist against us it the UK are gone and we then find ourselves the ones out of step with the rest of the EU.

    The problem is we basically can't seal off the border. It's too big and our customs/Gardai/army are too few. There is barely 2 months left and it would take closer to 2 years than 2 months to put the people and infrastructure in place. But the EU won't care because they will be aware that they don't want to set a precedent for its other borders in the east. It'll be put up the border or we hit you with sanctions and tariffs for not complying with EU regulations.

    Then for a period Irish companies could find tariffs on their goods going into both the UK and EU. We'll basically be caught in a crossfire between the EU and UK. Eventually one of them will give in and a deal will be struck BUT that could take several weeks or months and by that time many small to medium Irish businesses will be bankrupt. The UK don't give a damn about us and the EU will be focused on maintaining the big picture and we're the small picture.

    Basically we're going to get screwed and no one will care because we're not big enough to matter.


    Is there any evidence for this other than your own head?


  • Registered Users Posts: 95 ✭✭Kleine Hundin


    WA stands for the withdrawal agreement.


  • Registered Users Posts: 431 ✭✭ThePanjandrum


    So explain to me, if Ireland institutes a hard border then won't this breach the Good Friday Agreement which you have said cannot be allowed to happen?

    (Please ignore the fact that the GFA says no such thing, the EU and Ireland claim that it does so we must accept their wisdom).


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭Bit cynical


    So explain to me, if Ireland institutes a hard border then won't this breach the Good Friday Agreement which you have said cannot be allowed to happen?
    No because we are merely obeying EU rules. Or something like that.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,272 ✭✭✭fash


    No because we are merely obeying EU rules. Or something like that.
    If I take put a gun in your hand, over power you and point the gun at your head and pull the trigger, did you commit suicide? Answer that and you'll be able to answer if Ireland breached the GFA by putting up a hard border due to a no deal brexit.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭Bit cynical


    LuckyLloyd wrote: »
    In such a scenario it is not implausible to see them come back to the negotiating table with the EU in short order, with a substantially weakened position. At that point, the backstop with an Irish Sea Border will be the first item on the agenda.

    So, as such, the difference is short term pain for a potential long term gain and the avoidance to agreeing / asserting to a severely problematic position for the foreseeable future. It is obviously ridiculous that UK politics is in such a bad state to force this matter, but here we are. It is vital to the long term interests of Ireland and the EU that the integrity of the SM be maintained.
    The question is: at what point does this policy of insisting on either the backstop or no deal become a failed policy. We all hope that the UK will accept that backstop or, failing that, only spend a short time with no deal before coming back. That is the hope. That is the basis on which the policy rests.

    But the possibility remains that the UK will try to make a go of it with no deal. In such a scenario, at what point is our policy a mistake, e.g. six months? A year? How long is a short time? Remember that not long ago, the idea that the UK would leave with no deal was pretty much unthinkable yet it now looks like a serious possibility.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,338 ✭✭✭Bit cynical


    fash wrote: »
    If I take put a gun in your hand, over power you and point the gun at your head and pull the trigger, did you commit suicide? Answer that and you'll be able to answer if Ireland breached the GFA by putting up a hard border due to a no deal brexit.
    Although we did not initiate brexit, we are also actors in this.


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