Irish hauliers warn of ‘catastrophic consequences’ post-Brexit

Next four weeks to be ‘period of unprecedented disruption’ for imports and exports

The Irish road haulage industry is warning that disruptions and obstructions from new customs and imports controls at Irish Sea ports post-Brexit will have "catastrophic consequences".

Irish Road Haulage Association president Eugene Drennan will tell the Oireachtas transport committee on Wednesday the next four weeks will be “a period of unprecedented disruption for the movement of goods”.

The disruption new border checks at ports will cause to the transport industry will be “immense” and have “the capacity to bring the licensed haulage industry to a standstill”, he will say.

Staggered arrivals

He will call for a single State entity to take responsibility for traffic movement in and around Dublin Port or else it will face “unco-ordinated chaos” and ask the Government to use “statutory powers” to force shipping companies to stagger ferry arrivals to avoid congestion from checks.


Mr Drennan will ask for derogations from regulations covering driving-hour limits to give hauliers flexibility during the coming “extraordinary period” given the delays they face at ports.

Meanwhile, negotiations are continuing between the EU and UK in Brussels as they seek to bridge the differences on the level playing field and fisheries. There are mixed signals on whether the talks could conclude an agreement this week, with one Dublin source who is briefed on the talks saying that a “best-case scenario” would mean they could clinch a deal on Thursday or Friday.

Lack of trust

However, another official played down this possibility and said while there had been some limited progress on both level playing field and fisheries issues, significant differences remained.

Another source said the lack of trust between the two sides was still an issue. There is growing apprehension on the EU side about the time available for ratification by the European Parliament, even if a deal is done in the coming days. Commission sources have indicated that the deal could be applied provisionally and subsequently ratified, though there is likely to be opposition in the parliament to this idea.

The British side has fewer such concerns, with the government having the option of recalling the Westminster parliament in late December and using its majority to rush through approval for a deal, and there are fears on the EU side that the UK will try to leverage this flexibility as the two sides close in on a deal.

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell

Simon Carswell is News Editor of The Irish Times

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy

Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times