A move to create a single EU border to help manage trade between the EU and the UK could create a “greater” economic and security boost for Ireland, the Irish government has said.
The Irish government says the border would allow for greater “access to the single market” and a greater degree of control over the movement of goods and people across the island.
It also said the move would allow “a greater degree” of access to UK ports and markets, which would help the Irish economy and “protect the people of Ireland”.
In an article published on the Irish Times website on Thursday, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said that if Ireland was to remain in the EU, it would need to ensure “greatness in the availability and value of Irish goods and services”.
“In order to achieve the desired outcomes, Ireland needs to create greater access to the UK market,” he wrote.
The article, entitled “How will you keep Ireland in the European Union?”, is part of a wider discussion on how to manage the “Brexit transition” after Britain leaves the bloc on March 29.
The border would be the second “hard border” between the two countries after Ireland has had to accept the free movement of people since it joined the EU in 1973.
In May, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the Government was “fully committed” to securing the “best possible deal for Ireland” but said there would be “a significant cost to Ireland” if the “hard Brexit” were to be imposed on the country.
The “hard” border has been a thorny issue for Ireland for decades.
In 2005, the country went to the Supreme Court to try and stop its border being cut, saying it was necessary to protect the country’s “borders, islands and customs”.
The court ruled in favour of the Irish Government, but that did not mean it could stop the border being drawn or closed.
The latest article by Mr Noonan suggests the Government will be “fully engaged” in “solving the Brexit transition” to keep Ireland within the EU.
Mr Noonan’s article also said that while Ireland’s economic growth could have been slowed by the “soft Brexit”, the country was now “in a position to provide significant additional growth opportunities”.
He said Ireland would be able to “continue to attract and retain the most talented talent in the world”.
The Irish economy has been growing faster than many other EU nations since the start of the Brexit process, and Ireland has been the world’s third-largest economy in the first quarter of this year.
But in the period between March 2019 and the end of June, the economy contracted by 1.3pc, while the UK’s contracted by 0.9pc.