Irish ambassador calls on UK to remain in Customs Union
Britain should remain in the EU Customs Union following Brexit in order to avoid problems with the Irish border, the country’s ambassador to the UK said on Friday.
In an interview with Sky News, Dan Mulhall urged the UK government to push to stay in the common trading area as anything to the contrary would cause major problems for Ireland.
The soft border between Northern Ireland and the Republic has become one of the major points of contention in the ongoing Brexit talks between UK and EU negotiating teams, with issues of immigration and customs standing alongside political instability in the North.
"Our hope and wish is that Britain should remain as closely connected as possible with the EU and one aspect of that would be if Britain were to remain in the Customs Union," Mulhall said.
Alongside the Irish question, the other key priorities for Brexit talks ahead of the UK’s departure in 2019 are an exit bill and citizens’ rights.
There has been increasing talk of a so-called ‘transition period’, so that businesses and government agencies will be able to cope with the substantial changes which will accompany the exit.
Mulhall added that EU membership had brought great benefits to Ireland and its relationship with the UK.
"EU membership was a huge benefit to British-Irish relations... it helped bring peace to Northern Ireland,” he said.
"For all of those reasons, and for our close bilateral relationship, personally Ireland will miss the UK badly.”