The Guardian newspaper has reported that the British government has privately conceded there will be post-Brexit checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea, months after Boris Johnson insisted there would be no such trade barriers.
In a letter to the executive office in Stormont the government confirmed there would be border control posts in three ports, Belfast, Warrenpoint and Larne.
Declan Kearney, one of the two junior ministers in the executive office, the regional equivalent of the Cabinet Office in London, confirmed the details at a select committee session in Belfast on Wednesday.
According to the Guardian report, Kearney told members of the local assembly that officials had briefed the executive on Monday. "The sum total of that, and without breaching executive confidentiality … [is that the] British government has confirmed it will urgently put in place detailed plans with the executive, which does include the physical posts at ports of entry," he said.
The prime minister agreed checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain in a breakthrough meeting in Wirral with his Irish counterpart, Leo Varadkar, last October. However, he was then accused of misleading the public after he was recorded on video telling local businesses weeks later that there would be no checks.