The four Fine Gael MEPs Seán Kelly (South), Mairead McGuinness (Midlands North West), Brian Hayes (Dublin) and Deirdre Clune (South) met with a delegation of Irish road haulage representatives over Brexit concerns, at the European Parliament in Brussels today (Wednesday).
The meeting focused on concerns that Irish exporters may face tariffs and border controls when bringing their goods through the UK to mainland Europe post Brexit. 40 percent of Irish exports go to mainland Europe, most being driven through the UK and onto the French port of Calais. The decision by the UK to exit the EU has led to fears that Irish exports to mainland Europe will be slowed down by the administrative and physical barriers of a customs border, such as queues at a border check, while exporters may face extra costs.
Speaking after the meeting, the Fine Gael MEPs warned that Brexit will complicate the export of goods to mainland Europe via the UK, with particular implications for the export of food produce which needs to reach the market in a relatively short period of time.
"Choosing an alternative route to mainland Europe – like a Ferry between Rosslare and Cherbourg – may not be feasible for exporters given the long sea crossing, especially in winter. The difficulties Brexit may cause for Irish exporters and the haulage industry is one of many very serious concerns for Ireland ahead of Brexit negotiations between the EU27 and the UK.
"Another major issue is the Republic's border with Northern Ireland and the implications Brexit will have for transport links for citizens and business on the island of Ireland. Ireland's unique concerns are Europe's concerns, are clearly understood at EU level and will be to the fore of negotiations," they said.