‘No Deal’ Brexit Could See Irish Hauliers Being ‘Blocked’ At UK Ports
Irish trucks using the UK as a land bridge to the Continent face being ‘blocked’ at ports if there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit, Minister Regina Doherty has said.
Tomorrow British MPs are expected to vote on the Withdrawal Agreement with the EU, which if defeated – as is expected – makes a no deal Brexit the UK government’s default position.
If it is a no deal, the Irish Government has admitted that Irish hauliers will face extra delays as UK trucks will be prioritised for passage through clogged-up ports at Holyhead and Dover.
Speaking on RTÉ’s The Week In Politics, Ms Doherty said the European Commission had secured the use of the land bridge in a no deal scenario, but there remains the potential for Irish and EU trucks to be ‘blocked’.
‘The EU and the UK have issued a statement that the land bridge will still be available to us. We’re expanding our own ports, but also expanding our access and waiting areas at different ports,’ she said.
She said there is a ‘genuine concern’ that Irish trucks or European trucks will be blocked ‘while UK trucks are in a waiting queue’ but she added: ‘We’re working to try and make sure that doesn’t happen. We’re trying to work a contingency out so that they don’t get what we’re calling “being blocked”.’
A massive 70% of all Irish goods exported to the Continent use the UK land bridge, including 90% of our EU-bound dairy products.
Any hold-ups present a serious problem for Irish exporters, particularly those involved in ‘just in time’ sectors such as dairy, where products have a limited time to get from farms to supermarkets.
The Minister was forced to deny that some producers could face being wiped out overnight if the UK leaves the EU without a deal when Brexit happens on March 29.
‘Let me assure them that they absolutely will be sustainable, because we recognise the blockages that are going to occur and we’re going to find and make available a contingency,’ she said.
‘We will arrive on a deal on every single contingency, in every single department because that’s what we’ve been working towards for the last two years.’