Friday 1 January 2021 11:28 am

Brexit: Ireland beefs up police patrols at Northern Ireland border

Ireland will intensify its police presence at the Northern Ireland border from today in a bid to stop organised crime taking advantage of post-Brexit changes.

Ireland’s national police force, Garda, had already increased officers posted at the border by 20 per cent since 2016 and are set to add more as the Brexit transition period ended at 11pm last night.

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From today, Irish firms will have to fill out customs declarations when exporting goods to Great Britain, but not to Northern Ireland as it will remain in the EU’s single market and abide by EU customs rules.

This arrangement has prevented a hard border on the island of Ireland, which is a key term of the Good Friday peace agreement.

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However, the Irish government is still concerned about organised crime gangs exploiting the new arrangements to smuggle goods.

The Garda will create roving checkpoints in the border region in a bid to clamp down on this.

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Garda superintendent Liam Geraghty told the Financial Times: “We are very conscious that any change that will come into place has the potential for organised crime groups to try and take advantage of that.

“People living along the approximately 500-km border will see an increased Garda presence over the coming days. Members of [the force] will not be posted on the border, will not be manning permanent checkpoints or guarding infrastructure.”

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