First Minister wants to avoid border between Wales and Ireland

12 February 2018, 14:38

First Minister / Irish flag

The First Minister of Wales says every effort needs to be made to ensure there is no maritime border between Ireland and Wales after Brexit.

Carwyn Jones said that any customs deal that was made between the Republic and Northern Ireland should also apply for Wales.

He said it was not in the Irish or Welsh interest for there to be any extra bureaucracy that could hinder trade.

The Welsh First Minister had been due to meet the Irish Taoiseach to discuss post-Brexit trade but it was cancelled to allow Mr Varadkar to travel to Stormont to take part in talks with Theresa May.

Mr Jones said he did not agree with the way Brexit has been handled by the UK Government.

"I don't agree with Theresa May," Mr Jones said.

"I think leaving the customs union has no sense at all, there are plenty of countries that are outside of the EU, but still in the customs union."

He added that Wales had always wanted full and unfettered access to the single market.

"It's in no one's interest for there to be extra bureaucracy and extra paperwork when goods are moved through the Irish ports into Wales," he said.

Mr Jones said Welsh ports were dependent on trade from Irish ports.

"Our worry is that if, for example, the border between north and south here in Ireland is softer than the border, the maritime border between the Republic say and Wales, then there will be an incentive for freight to move into Belfast from Scottish and English ports, and avoid the Welsh ports," he said.

"Everyone wants to see the border between the north and south of Ireland to be as soft as possible but we want to make sure that applies for the border between the Republic of Ireland and Wales as well.

Ports make a huge contribution to the Welsh economy, supporting around 11,000 jobs and providing an economic hub and trade gateway with Europe and the rest of the world.

About 80 per cent of goods carried in Irish-registered HGVs between the Republic of Ireland and Europe pass through Welsh ports.