AS the Brexit deadline fast approaches with yet no resolution on the border question, more evidence has emerged proving once again the disastrous effect restricting trade and movement would have locally.
Two joint reports by government bodies in both Belfast and Dublin have been published over the past fortnight. The first, which focuses on the number of crossings across the border, will surprise few locally.
The report by the Department of Infrastructure in the North and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in the South was leaked some months back but has now been officially published. It shows there are a total 204 “agreed” crossings along the route of the border, as in roads that have been identified and agreed by both authorities.
Fermanagh officially has the highest number of crossings of all northern counties, with 80 agreed crossing. In all, 11 of these are ‘A’ road, seven are ‘B’ roads, one is a ‘C’ road, and 58 are unclassified roads. There are also three private roads between Fermanagh and the south.
The county may have the most crossings north of the border, but our neighbours in Monaghan have the highest number in total with a 95 border crossings.
The second report was carried out by the NI Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and the Department of Finance in Dublin. It highlights the exact volume of cross-border trade.
According to the figures, there were some 758,000 instances of cross-border export deliveries to the South in 2016, worth an estimated £3.4 billion to the economy in the North. Of these, 74 percent were made by small businesses, with fewer than 50 employees, and a third of those were made by “micro” businesses with less than 10 employees.
The report also features Quinn Building Products as a case study, stating they are a high-value trader with around 30 percent of its employees at its Fermanagh base commuting daily from the South.
“They trade a range of building products from cement to roof tiles and estimate that their trucks cross the border some 350 times per day,” said the authors. “Not all of these trips meet the definitions adopted in the current report, but the company provides a striking example of the intensity of the cross border movement of goods and materials.”
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