Taoiseach expresses ‘concern’ over impact of UK Brexit disruption on Ireland

Micheál Martin says Covid-19 pandemic has ‘masked a lot of the issues’ around Brexit

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he is concerned that the disruption being caused by Brexit in Britain will have an impact on Ireland.

Speaking on the last day of his visit to New York for United Nations meetings, Mr Martin said he believes "the fallout has yet to come in terms of Brexit".

Britain has recently been hit by fuel shortages and difficulties filling supermarket shelves.

The Taoiseach was asked if he was concerned about the possibility of knock-on effects in Ireland. Mr Martin replied: “I am indeed.”


He said: “I’ve been concerned for a long time in relation to Brexit.

“I think Covid has masked a lot of the issues around Brexit.

“Now we’ve managed to weather some of the storm because of preparation, and we prepared well, and also because we’re opening up links to Europe”.

However, he said he has picked up from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Ireland that they’re finding the lead times for ordering goods and getting them into the country is “much longer” than it would have been before Brexit.

He said British SMEs are finding it difficult to access the European market.

“So I think the fallout has yet to come in terms of Brexit,” he said.

Mr Martin said that if the politics could be taken away from the issue “everybody, including the UK need to reflect on how it’s working”.

He said: “We owe it to those at the frontline of industry and business that systems run smoothly.”

The Taoiseach also suggested that there “hasn’t been the same level of preparation in the UK for Brexit and the results of that are showing in some aspects of British commerce and British business”.

Asked if the British should renegotiate, he said: “That’s not going to happen.

“But what can happen is common sense and pragmatism.”

One example he gave was the British government’s plan to replace the EU quality mark with a UK one and how this was postponed for a year as British businesses said they weren’t ready and it would have created too many logistical difficulties.

Mr Martin also said that the issues that have arisen have “been compounded also – we must be fair – by supply chain issues around Covid globally”.

By he said he’s “in no doubt that Brexit is a worry” in terms of the potential for Ireland to be impacted by disruption in Britain.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times