The establishment of border-control post in the port of Cork remains “under consideration” according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.

He was responding to a parliamentary question from Fine Gael TD Colm Burke, who highlighted the current situation of goods that originate from outside of Europe having to be transported for inspection from Cork to Dublin Port.

Deputy Burke told Agriland that he had received a query from an importing company in respect of a non-EU shipment, which is required to present for inspection at Dublin Port.

The importing company will incur additional costs as well as time loss, as it will not be possible to inspect the imports in Cork, he said.

In a written response, Minister McConalogue said that officials from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) will continue to analyse the requirements for such a facility in Cork.

He explained that the Port of Cork is currently a designated border-control post for container shipments of wood and wood products.

Inspections of these products take place at the Tivoli Container Terminal near Cork City.

“However, the physical infrastructure required for handling bulk wood products and that required for handling food products, are very different,” he said.

New facilities
The port of Cork is currently developing new facilities at Ringaskiddy. Between 2015 and 2018, a number of meetings took place between the DAFM and the Port of Cork. In December 2018, the Port authority advised that they did not intend to pursue the building of a border-control post at that time and they would consider that as a second phase of their development. They have since submitted a business case for the building of a border control post, capable of handling food products.

The minister explained that, as a border-control post may only be located in a customs-controlled area, this business case can only be considered in the context of Revenue designating any place where it is proposed that a border control post will be built, as a customs-controlled area.

“In recent years, the focus of my department has been on ensuring sufficient border-control post infrastructure was available to deal with sanitary and phytosanitary goods being imported, into the European Union Single Market from Great Britain, following the Brexit referendum.

“This involved a very substantial expansion of border-control post infrastructure at Dublin Port, as well as the building of an interim facility at Rosslare Port. Work on plans for the building of a permanent facility in Rosslare Europort has recently been completed,” he explained.

The issue of whether an additional border control post might be required in Port of Cork remains under consideration, he said.