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Dublin: 20 °C Saturday 30 May, 2020

UK Home Secretary says Britain should pay Ireland half a billion pounds to break deadlock

Sajid Javid said Britain has a moral duty to pay for a new border arrangement.

Image: PA

UK HOME SECRETARY Sajid Javid has said Britain should pay the Irish government half a billion pounds to break the Brexit deadlock over the Northern Ireland border issue.

In an interview with the Mail On Sunday, Javid said Britain has a moral duty to pay for a new border arrangement, warning it will take “hundreds of millions of euros, no one really knows because it hasn’t been done before”.

“I think it’s morally justified to pay for that because we both have signed the Good Friday Agreement, we are both absolutely committed to peace on the island of Ireland and – given that we voted to leave and that’s what’s changing the status quo on the island of Ireland – I think it’s morally right that we say, ‘look, we’ll pay because we’ve caused this’,” he said.

Javid, who is one of the MPs in the running for Conservative Party leadership, said he would want to see this money used to set up technology-driven border checks so Britain would not be locked into EU rules.

In March last year a House of Commons committee warned that there was no evidence an invisible border on the island of Ireland would be possible after Brexit.

In a report the committee stated it “had no visibility of any technical solutions, anywhere in the world, beyond the aspirational, that would remove the need for physical infrastructure at the border”.

It said the government’s proposals for technical solutions represented “blue sky thinking”.

Fine Gael senator Neale Richmond this morning criticised Javid’s comments, telling that maintaining an open border on the island of Ireland “goes far beyond monetary value”.

“Post Brexit, we hope this can be done with a deep and meaningful trade, customs and regulatory agreement,” he said.

“There is an openness to the technological solutions suggested by Mr Javid but ultimately none of these solutions have been proven to exist yet. That is why we need the insurance policy of the Brexit and throwing around promises of pay offs simply misses the point.”

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