A cross-border business transaction every 6 seconds?

CLAIM: A business transaction happens every six seconds across the border of Northern Ireland and Ireland.

CONCLUSION: INACCURATE WITH CONSIDERATION. There was a cross-border commercial vehicle journey every 6.74 seconds in 2016. But there are no known data on cross-border business transactions.

On 25 June 2019, politician Claire Hanna (SDLP) made a claim during a BBC debate regarding the repercussion of Brexit on the island of Ireland. She said: “… a business transaction happens every six seconds across the border” between Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Is there a cross-border business transaction every 6 seconds?

In 2016, according to the Office of Revenue (Ireland) data, there were 4,677,772 recorded cross-border commercial vehicle journeys (see table below; see also Department for Infrastructure; UK Parliament; King’s College London). This is a minimum figure, as records are based on movements on 12 of the possible 204 cross-border roads.

This equates to an average of 12,815 commercial vehicles crossing the border daily, or one crossing every 6.74 seconds.

However, cross-border commercial goods vehicle journeys are not the same as cross-border business transactions (i.e. “activities and events that affect the financial position of a business and are capable of being assigned monetary values, and are recorded in the books of the business and summarized in financial reports”). The Office of Revenue data source (above) provides information on trade between Ireland and the UK, as well as economic commentary in border counties, but not in terms of business transactions. Likewise, the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) informed FactCheckNI that while it has information on cross-border vehicle crossings, it does not have any information on cross-border business transactions.

Conclusion

Official figures from the Office of Revenue data provide evidence of commercial goods vehicle journeys across the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland — one every 6.74 seconds in 2016. In this regard, Hanna’s claim is accurate when understood in this way. However, this data cannot be extrapolated to business transactions. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) does not monitor cross-border business transactions, nor does FactCheckNI know of any other organisation that does.


FactCheckNI is Northern Ireland’s first and only dedicated independent fact-checking service and a verified signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can learn more about about FactCheckNI, our personnel, what our article verdicts mean, and how to submit a claim.