An internal report by the Irish Revenue Commissioners has spelled out the enormous physical and economic impact Brexit will impose upon both Ireland’s customs infrastructure, and on the tens of thousands of companies who trade with the UK.
The unpublished report, seen by RTÉ News, sets out in stark detail the vast increase in paperwork, human resources and physical space requirements at ports and airports.
The report also declares that an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will be impossible from a customs perspective.
A year before Brexit, the Revenue Commissioners began exploring the potential impact on the customs interface between Ireland and the UK.
91,000 Irish companies trade with the UK. After Brexit, their customs declarations will mean an 800% increase in volume.
That will mean special permits, extra investment, more paperwork and potential delays.
Ports and airports will need extra infrastructure, such as temporary storage facilities for customs clearance.
Revenue itself will need a big increase in staffing levels.
For traders, the report says, the administrative and fiscal burden cannot be underestimated. [...]
The report says that every day 13,000 commercial vehicles cross the Irish border.
Critically, it says a completely open border is not possible from a customs perspective, and it would be naive to believe a unique arrangement can be found. [...]
The report states: "Once negotiations are completed ... the UK will become a third country for customs purposes and the associated formalities will become unavoidable.
"While this will affect all member states, the effect will be more profound on Ireland as the only EU country to have a land border with the UK."
Among the most pressing concerns is the fact that transforming Ireland’s customs infrastructure will take time and investment. [...]
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