Brexit: Some Irish firms ‘have not thought through implications’

Two-thirds of construction firms that trade with UK have not registered for customs

Containers at Belfast Harbour. Photograph: Paul Faith/Bloomberg

Containers at Belfast Harbour. Photograph: Paul Faith/Bloomberg


More than two-thirds of businesses in the construction, agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors that usually trade with the UK have not yet registered for customs in advance of Brexit, according to Revenue.

In a statement on Tuesday advising all businesses that have not fully prepared for Brexit to “act now to avoid significant disruption in their international trade”, Gerry Harrahill of Revenue said there was evidence that some had “not thought through the implications at all”.

Revenue wrote to more than 90,000 businesses in September, and made 14,000 follow-up phone calls to those it believed would be most impacted by Brexit.

Some 71,600 Irish businesses have now registered for an Economic Operators Registration Identification number, with 3,700 businesses registered since September.

But Revenue data shows more than 66 per cent of construction businesses, and a similar percentage of businesses in the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries that traded with the UK in 2019 and 2020 have yet to register for customs.

By contrast, more than 90 per cent of pharma businesses that traded with the UK over the same period have registered for customs.

‘Absolute certainty’

“There is evidence that some businesses have made little or no plans to manage the negative impacts of Brexit,” Mr Harrahill said.

“Revenue acknowledges that the economic environment is extremely challenging and uncertain for a lot of businesses right now. However, when it comes to Brexit there is absolute certainty that on January 1st, 2021, customs formalities will apply to goods moving to, from or through the UK, excluding Northern Ireland.

“Businesses who have not prepared for Brexit or who have not yet fully completed or thought through their preparations will be immediately impacted,” he added.

“These businesses may not be able to access key supplies or stock or will not be able to export their goods to [Britain].”