SMUGGLING is “going to be Ireland’s biggest industry” and will help fund crime gangs after Brexit, regardless whether there is a hard border or not.
That’s the fear of public representatives on both sides of the Fermanagh border ahead of Brexit D-day on October 31st. With fears of a hard border greater than ever before due to prime minister Boris Johnson’s commitment to taking the UK out of the EU, deal or no deal, concerns over smuggling are also growing daily.
The recently leaked report, dubbed Yellowhammer, outlined the government’s fears paramilitaries would benefit from a post-Brexit surge in smuggling, while EU chiefs have expressed similar concerns.
Locally, Roslea Cllr John McCluskey said he has no doubt smuggling “is going to be Ireland’s biggest business industry” regardless of whether the UK secures a withdrawal bill.
“If the borders are open or closed, it will not make any difference. The smuggling will be massive because the prices will be different,” he said.
Cllr McCluskey said from his conversations with people he’s convinced smuggling “is going to be bigger than it ever was before.”
“There will be a massive industry in smuggling and people are actually preparing for it already. Discreetly, they’ll not tell you, but some of them are loving it,” he said.
Bundoran Cllr Michael McMahon, who is from Belleek, said there was “no question” Brexit “will certainly lay the way open for smuggling.” He too said he believed smuggling will be a bigger problem after Brexit than it was in the past. We have the ongoing situation with the smuggling of the cigarettes across Europe,” he said. Other criminal elements will certainly cash in on whatever they see they can smuggle across the border.
“Plus the fact you have over 300 outlets in the border regions. With primary roads, secondary roads, back roads, ways through fields. It doesn’t make a lot of common sense, what’s happening at the moment, anyway.”
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