AM queries effect of UK Government border plans on Holyhead and Anglesey

Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth has raised questions in the Assembly chamber regarding the effect on the Holyhead-Dublin crossing if a border is to be placed around the isle of Ireland.

During this week’s FMQs, Rhun ap Iorwerth talked of the importance of Holyhead Port. He said:

“In my constituency of Anglesey, the question of borders with Ireland is one of the most crucial questions in terms of the debate on leaving the European Union. If a border is to be placed around the isle of Ireland, as is suggested—and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has said that he wants to strengthen border controls in the ports and airports of Ireland—then what’s the First Minister’s assessment of the likely impact of that on the most important crossing point in terms of trade between Britain and Ireland, and that’s in my constituency, the port of Holyhead?”

In his response, the First Minister also poured cold water over the UK Government’s plans to place the British border in Irish ports and airports, warning of a “number of problems” with the proposal, and saying that no-one had come up with a way to solve the problem, which was not good for the residents of Ynys Môn or Holyhead. However Plaid Cymru says it’s time Welsh Labour took a firmer and more consistent line.

Video clip of the question and answer in the Senedd:

Speaking afterwards, Rhun ap Iorwerth added:

“The prospect of placing a hard border in Ireland would make it very unattractive for people to travel and do business through Holyhead. Around 2.1 million passengers pass through Holyhead annually in addition to 500,000 cars, and 400,000 freight vehicles. The UK Government has stated that it wants to place the British border in Irish ports and airports, which means that passing through the port of Holyhead will create untold difficulty for these travellers and vehicles.

“This yet again demonstrates that ripping Wales and the UK out of the Single Market is folly, because it will mean an EU frontier at Welsh ports which will increase business costs substantially and risk trade and jobs. 

“Leaving the Single Market will have a massive impact on Welsh jobs and yet the Labour party has completely failed to set out a coherent position on it. Despite acknowledging that placing a hard Border in Ireland would create problems, the Labour government in Wales has taken a ‘hard Brexit’ approach and voted to leave the Single Market whilst the Labour party centrally has advocated remaining in the Single Market.

“It’s clear that remaining in the Single Market is best for Welsh jobs, trade and for Welsh travellers. Plaid Cymru will campaign for membership of the Single Market because that’s what’s in Wales’ best interests.”