Businesses need assurances now on UK land-bridge – Clune

Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune says businesses need certainty now in the event of the EU not reaching a trade deal with the UK by the end of the year.

This week, the European Commission warned that a no-deal scenario cannot be ruled out.

Talks are deadlocked with less than 100 days to go until the end of the Brexit transition period.

Deirdre Clune said there is increasing concern over the transport of goods from Ireland to mainland Europe via the UK land-bridge.

“There are many businesses that depend on that land-bridge for access to deliver their goods to continental Europe; to destinations there and they need to be given assurances now that there won’t be a cliff-edge – that they won’t fall off a cliff at the end of the year; that they can operate until such time as alternative measures are put in place,” she said.

Previously, Clune stated:

The UK is a huge trade partner for Ireland. Around 10% of Irish exports go to the UK, over €12 billion in 2019. It purchases 51% of Ireland’s beef exports, 37.2% of Ireland’s food and drink exports and 58.9% of Ireland’s iron and steel exports.

“The EU has come to the table many times in good faith and with a view to securing a future partnership that respects standards in the EU and also the hard-earned peace in Northern Ireland,” she added.

Meanwhile, “surety of service, timeline and delivery” cannot be guaranteed if hauliers must rely on the UK land-bridge to bring exports to mainland Europe, according to members of the haulage industry.

Eugene Drennan, president of the Irish Road Haulage Association, has said that the impact of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit will be huge on the sector.