After the Good Friday Agreement was concluded, customs and security controls between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom were removed (From Wikipedia). The Irish border is one of the major problems in the Brexit negotiations. If the UK leaves the EU Customs Union, it may will almost certainly be inevitable to reintroduce customs controls at the UK-Republic of Ireland border.

Does the Good Friday Agreement necessarily mean that such controls must not take place, or can customs controls exist without violating the Good Friday Agreement?

  • 1
    Which international court? Also, I just scanned the agreement and did not notice anything that "binds the United Kingdom to an open border with the Republic of Ireland"; did you have a particular provision of the agreement in mind, or can you point to a source that supports this interpretation?
    – phoog
    Jun 5, 2018 at 15:49
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    @phoog I may have misunderstood that. I thought it was after the Good Friday Agreement that border checks between ROI and NI ceased. By about 2005, in phase with implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, remaining controls were definitively removed.. That sounds to me that border controls are incompatible with the Good Friday Agreement?
    – gerrit
    Jun 5, 2018 at 16:22
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    That the Good Friday Agreement created conditions for the removal of border controls does not imply that it requires an open border (e.g. the Wikipedia article on the agreement doesn't mention the removal of border controls). An analysis of their reintroduction would have to look at what the agreement actually says and whether their reintroduction would be compatible. Remember that the agreement was signed in the context of a customs union that had abolished internal checks 6 years earlier; after that, border checks were only for "security." When the UK leaves the EU, the context changes.
    – phoog
    Jun 5, 2018 at 16:43
  • @phoog Perhaps the premises of my question are entirely wrong then, which would explain why I haven't seen this question being raised anywhere in the public debate on Brexit.
    – gerrit
    Jun 5, 2018 at 17:43
  • Maybe you can change it to something like "what are the implications of the Good Friday Agreement for the reintroduction of customs controls" or something like that. Note also that I mean customs strictly; immigration controls were never introduced after the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, if the Wikipedia article is to be believed, and I don't think anyone expects them to be introduced now.
    – phoog
    Jun 5, 2018 at 18:07


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