David Davis finally visits Border, but doesn’t tell the press
British politician makes first trip to Border since becoming Brexit secretary
Britain’s Brexit secretary David Davis tweeted this picture from his visit to Northern Ireland today. Photograph: Twitter
David Davis has made his first visit to the border as Britain’s Brexit secretary during a short trip to Northern Ireland.
Britain’s Department for Exiting the EU (Dexeu) said Mr Davis met with Peter Sheridan, chief executive of the peace and reconciliation charity Co-operation Ireland, as well as representatives of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and Revenue and Customs officials on Monday morning.
The two-hour visit was not announced in advance and no media statement was provided, other than a post on Mr Davis’ Twitter account on Monday afternoon, because he had been on “a private visit” according to a Dexeu spokeswoman.
“Today I started what promises to be a busy week in Northern Ireland. As we leave the EU it’s essential both the UK and EU do what it takes to keep the border, which I saw this morning, free from physical infrastructure. We are determined to get this agreed by October,” Mr Davis wrote on Twitter.
Mr Sheridan said he accompanied Mr Davis on a tour of the border, to Middletown in Co Armagh in Northern Ireland where he met with local businesses. He also viewed disused customs infrastructure at the nearby Foyduff border crossing into Co Monaghan in the Republic.
Co-operation Ireland has previously facilitated visits for a number of UK and EU-based politicians, including Westminster’s EU Select Committee to Co Armagh and the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michele Barnier to Co Monaghan.
Mr Sheridan said Mr Davis’ visit gave the politician a chance to “see the border area for himself and hear from people living close to the national boundary”.
“I pointed out the businesses based in Middletown who trade on both sides of the border before we visited the Middletown Centre for Autism which is jointly funded by the Department for Education in Northern Ireland and the Department for Education and Skills based in Dublin,” he said.
“I was then able to show the Secretary of State the reality of the border and how it winds its way across the countryside.”
A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed Mr Davis held “a private meeting” with Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris in Belfast.