Brexit: Coveney says 'tech alone will not solve border issue'

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image captionIrish minister for foreign affairs Simon Coveney was speaking in Brussels

Technical solutions alone will not solve the problem of the Irish border after Brexit, the Irish minister for foreign affairs has said.

Simon Coveney was speaking in Brussels.

He also stressed the importance of free movement of people, goods and services.

Brexit Secretary David Davis has repeatedly mentioned trusted trader schemes, automatic number plate recognition and pre-tagged containers as solutions to the Irish border problem.

Political leaders in London, Dublin, Brussels and Belfast have all said there should be "no hard border" and "no return to the borders of the past".

However, so far there have been no firm proposals on how to achieve that when Northern Ireland is outside the customs union and single market and the Republic of Ireland remains inside.

Speaking to RTÉ, Mr Coveney said: "What we do not want to pretend is that we can solve the problems of the border on the island of Ireland through technical solutions like cameras and pre-registration and so on.

"That is not going to work."

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image captionThe operation of the Irish border is one of the most sensitive Brexit issues

Mr Coveney added that he hoped to see a strong political acknowledgement of what can be achieved at Brexit negotiations this week.

"Any barrier or border on the island of Ireland in my view risks undermining a very hard-won peace process and all of the parties in Northern Ireland, whether they are unionist or nationalist, recognise we want to keep the free movement of people and goods and services and livelihoods," he added.

On Monday, Mr Davis called on both sides in the negotiations on the UK's departure from the European Union to "get down to business".

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