‘If they are coming for terrorist activities, they will get as much publicity for terror in Dublin’

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The border won’t be tightened in the event of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union; illegal migrants in the Republic of Ireland will stay in the relatively prosperous Dublin area rather than try to cross into Northern Ireland; and jihadis will be as happy carrying out high profile terror attacks in the Irish capital as in Great Britain.

These are some of the arguments offered in a paper published by the Leave.eu lobby group on Tuesday, May 17.

‘Secure, Peaceful and Prosperous: Why Northern Ireland would be better leaving the EU?’ is scathing of claims that Brexit could destabilise community relations and peace in Northern Ireland.

The report’s authors state: “Some of the most alarmist commentary over Brexit, locally, has drawn on the idea that the close relationship between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland could be damaged, were the UK to leave the EU and that the basis of improved community relations in Northern Ireland would suffer as a result.

“The evidence for these claims is not compelling. Indeed, at a debate about Brexit in Belfast, both Labour and Conservative MPs who support the ‘leave’ campaign described such suggestions as ‘utterly disgraceful’ and ‘shocking.’”

It claims that changes to the border will be minimal due to the Common Travel Area, which has allowed passport-free travel between the United Kingdom and the Irish state since the 1920s.

“It is not in the interest of the Irish Republic to become a conduit for illegal immigrants into the United Kingdom,” the report claims.

“First of all there is no guarantee that once they arrive in the Irish Republic they will not stay in the relatively prosperous greater Dublin area and so become illegal immigrants in the Republic or, if they are coming for terrorist activities, they will get as much publicity worldwide for acts of terror in Dublin as they would in cities across the United Kingdom.

“So, for both of those reasons the Irish Republic would have just as many concerns about an open border arrangement as the United Kingdom would have.

“The whole point about the common travel arrangement area is that there are the same safeguards as Irish points of entry as there are at British points of entry.

“It has also been suggested that, even though passport free travel may be possible, time-consuming customs controls may be implemented at the Irish border.

“This is another unlikely scenario in the modern world. Technology and automated border clearance systems have made the need for lengthy disruptive border checks redundant, even where ‘hard’ borders exist.

“Even in the event that the UK does not strike a free-trade deal with the EU, the idea of queues at the border is not credible.

“However, the likelihood is that a deal would follow Brexit and, in any case, neither duties nor rules of origin for trade would exist between the UK and the Republic, so customs barriers would not be necessary,” they add.