Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
No work on a hard N.I. /Ireland border is going to even start until there is a complete breakdown in negotiations and the UK is out after the A50 period and any extension thereof has elapsed and all hope of a reconciliation has been extinguished.  It would simply be suicidal for any Irish government to think of spending millions on border controls on a hard border virtually no one wants.

Even if they went through the motions of claiming they are going to implement border controls all sorts of bureaucratic and legal delays getting planning, environmental impact studies, and logistic/design studies completed will put everything on the long finger almost indefinitely.

The border will become a back channel of EU/UK trade avoiding tariffs/immigration controls and a smuggler's paradise. The authorities will go through the motions of some high profile customs "spot checks" and prosecutions to maintain the fiction that something real is being done and that we are technically in compliance with EU law. The Irish tradition of paying lip service and doing the opposite will be revived.

If the Brits want border controls, they will have to fund and build them.  Ditto the EU. Irish attitudes to law enforcement can best be described at pragmatic and a branch of public relations.  The idea that enforcement and compliance could approach Swiss/German levels of thoroughness and efficiency is laughable. Tacitly the authorities will admit that if disadvantaged border regions make a few bob from smuggling, shure what's the harm.  Regional development by another name.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 at 06:19:32 PM EST
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