Ireland’s top police officer says border open to crime in hard Brexit

Ireland’s top police officer says additional policing will be needed to patrol the border in the event of a hard Brexit.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told a parliament committee on Wednesday that any police response will depend on “what kind of Brexit we get”.

“It will depend on the threats that arise,” he said.

“We are a community based policing organisation, threats will arise, threats that we cope with at the moment and have coped with in the past.”

He added that in the event of a hard border, organised crime will increase.

He said: “The issue of organised crime, as tariffs diverge, there will be more and more opportunities then to smuggle over the border, that will require a response.

“Also then the threat from terrorism, we have to see, we don’t know the severity of the issues that may arise.

“Even just looking at the situation (at the border) at the moment, with the ATM robberies, smuggling, and other crime, it is prudent for us to make sure the border is well resourced.

“We’re moving resources there, with armed support and roads policing and general strengths of that area.”

The EU, and the Irish Republic have been steadfast that the re-emergence of a hard border could have catastrophic effect on both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

They argued any customs or regulatory border would have a devastating impact on the economy of the island, with concerns flagged about the security issues and political fallout from the re-emergence of a border on the island.

The backstop was a fundamental requirement of any exit deal struck with the UK.

Brussels and Dublin demanded the mechanism in phase one, to guarantee the border would always remain open.

Brussels was also determined to protect the integrity of its single market, amid fears an open land border with the UK could see goods which do not meet Brussels’ regulations enter freely into the 27 member states.