It has been claimed that a request by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to certify certain egg and fish products on its behalf in the event of a No Deal Brexit will help create a hard Border.

Councillors were responding to a letter from the head of the Civil Service, David Sterling following concerns raised by the Brexit Committee.

At the Council meeting in Omagh on July 25, Sinn Féin’s Sheamus Greene warned that accepting these powers would be a “poisoned chalice” and would let the Council do the “dirty work” of implementing a hard Border.

He said what the Council has been asked to do is possibly against Council policy as they passed a motion declaring they would have no hand in “aiding and abetting” anyone in hardening the Border.

“We need to be very careful on it. Take what DAERA, the answers they give to us and examine them very closely because I would be very suspicious, no department ever in my memory wants to give away any powers that they have but DAERA seems very eager to delegate these powers to us. So I would be very very cautious that this isn’t a poisoned chalice handed down to council to do the dirty work of implementing a hard Border,” said the councillor.

Councillor Greene’s Sinn Féin colleague, Thomas O’Reilly asked for the Council to seek some clarification on the issue as it seemed to be another task “foisted” on the Council and that surely it was a departmental and why should this task be put on to Environmental Officers within the Council.