Hauliers get assurance on customs arrangements
In event of no-deal Brexit, arrangements at ports will remain unaltered for nine months
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald: “Dublin cannot blink . . . I will tell the Taoiseach that he must stand firm in the face of British pressure.” Photograph: John Thys/AFP
Government departments and State agencies held a briefing for hauliers on Monday on how to cope with the effects of a no-deal Brexit.
It came as the Cabinet is expected on Tuesday discuss and approve more memorandums on Ireland’s no-deal Brexit preparedness. It is understood the memos will outline how to deal with cross-Border education issues, such as student grants, cross-Border health and matters under the remit of the Department of Justice, such as extradition.
Hauliers on Monday met with a group of officials drawn from the Department of Agriculture and Marine, the Department of Health, the Department of Transport and the Revenue Commissioners.
The meeting heard the officials detail how some measures for haulers would largely remain the same for a period of nine months even after a no-deal Brexit.
The European Commission last month outlined 14 specific, temporary measures that would be taken in areas such as financial services, air transport, customs and climate to avoid major disruption in a no-deal scenario, for nine months.
The Commission guidlines said, however: “It is essential, however, that Member States take all the necessary steps to be in a position to apply the Union Customs Code and the relevant rules regarding indirect taxation in relation to the United Kingdom. ”
The EU has said these no-deal measures will only be taken if they are reciprocated by the UK.
The meeting also heard that Dublin and Rosslare ports would be among the main areas for UK-Ireland checks, in the areas of agriculture, immigration, customs and health, in a no-deal scenario.
Sources at the meeting said the issue of the Border between Northern Ireland and the Republic was raised, but officials said any arrangements for the land Border had yet to be defined. The Government has repeatedly said it is not planning for a hard border, regardless of the Brexit outcome.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will meet the leaders of the other parties on Tuesday to brief them on Brexit developments and on the Government’s proposed legislative package to deal with a possible no-deal outcome, which it hopes to rush through the Dáil by mid-March.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said she would take the opportunity to tell the Taoiseach that “Dublin cannot blink on this matter and I will tell the Taoiseach that he must stand firm in the face of British pressure.”
Labour leader Brendan Howlin said the Government had failed to “seriously contemplate who might happen if their preferred Plan A did not work”. He said the Taoiseach was “scrambling around for quick fixes, whereas months and years of preparation were needed to make Ireland’s economy more resilient to the possibility of a hard Brexit”.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett said: “We should further insist that basic democracy requires a Border poll on reunification if there is any attempt to install a hard border.”
A spokesman for Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said he would wait to see what the Taoiseach said before reacting.
*This article was amended on January 22nd following clarifications from the Revenue Commissioners.