A hard Brexit and the ferry ports’ role


Sir, – I keep reading with interest and with a certain empathy of the trials, tribulations, complexities and general impasse of the Brexit process.

As a suggestion to bolster the UK position and to nudge the EU into a more motivated position to efficiently complete subsequent trade talks: place the £39 billion “departure” payment by the UK into a legal escrow account – the money then can only be accessed at a later date by the EU when trade talks have been completed successfully and presumably to the UK’s satisfaction. – Yours, etc,



Co Sligo.

Sir, – The European Commission no-deal Brexit contingency action plan document released on December 19th (Patrick Smyth, News Agenda, December 20th) indicates the intended invocation of “Delegated regulation to include the seas surrounding the UK in the provisions on time-limits within which entry summary declarations and pre-departure declarations have to be lodged prior to leaving or entering the Union’s customs territory.”

Given that approximately 80 per cent of Irish exports to continental Europe go via the Channel Tunnel, in the event of a hard Brexit one of the imperative initiatives would be an extensive timetable of direct sailing services from Ireland to France, plus as the European Commission has suggested, to Belgium and the Netherlands. Also for imports and exports to/from the UK extra provision at ports for customs checks would have to be ultimately made and in this instance ports in Ireland will become “the first port of entry” in the context of EU entry summary declarations, which would be as advised “the first port in the Community at which the vessel is scheduled to call when coming from a port outside the Community.”

There is only an indication so far in the EU Commission Contingency Action Plan that road haulage operators could continue to carry goods between the EU and the UK on a temporary basis for nine months.

To avoid disruption, the aspect of possible EU financial support to facilitate additional sailing routes to continental Europe plus foreseen additional port operations plus arising from these challenges utilising ports in Dublin, Rosslare, Cork (as well as possible consideration of usage in Brexit preparedness, either temporary or otherwise, for Dún Laoghaire) ought to be investigated. – Yours, etc,


C/o Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown County Council,

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Sir, – The contingency plans announced by the UK government to prepare for a no-deal Brexit have attracted some comment that we should be concerned about. A reporter on the BBC programme Newsnight said that the plans were part of a strategy, ostensibly to be a reality check for the Brexiteers, which they knew would not be successful.

He said the real target was the EU and particularly the “Irish Republic”, which would be at greater risk of chaos at the port of Dover because of our dependence on the landbridge for our trade with Europe. They reckoned that this weakens the EU/Irish position and increases the pressure to capitulate on the backstop.

If this were so it would be history repeating itself. During the 1921 Treaty negotiations which provided for the Border to separate six counties to form Northern Ireland, Lloyd George, the then British prime minister threatened immediate war if the Irish delegation did not sign the Treaty within 24 hours.

This time Ireland, as part of the EU, will resist any threats and leave the UK to solve its problem, where it is, in the shambolic House of Commons. – Yours, etc,


Castle Gardens, Kilkenny.

Sir, – I was saddened to hear that Irish Ferries is planning to cease ferry services to France from Rosslare in 2019, and this coupled with the future uncertainty of the Stena ferry service to Fishguard would surely be a major blow to the future operation of a once thriving Port.

Rosslare Europort is surely going to be a valuable asset to the Irish economy post-Brexit. This would surely be of great service to haulage operators if the current Brexit debacle is not resolved and the landbridge via the UK ceases to be an option.

Córas Iompair Éireann really needs to look at the viability of Rosslare Europort, and to explore the restructuring of the largely unused terminal building into a major transport hub once again.

The rail service no longer serves the building and the new “station” is merely a platform over 500 metres away and does not serve a purpose. The timetables on the Dublin to Rosslare line do not service the ferries, and the line to Waterford linking the south and west of Ireland has been closed for several years.

The Bus Éireann services have been seriously curtailed in recent years and there is no direct service to Dublin since the Number 2 route changed terminal to Wexford town.

The current demise of Rosslare Europort needs to be halted urgently, and the powers-that-be should now realise the importance of maintaining and improving the facility to benefit future generations. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – How surprising and indeed welcome is the letter from Maurice O’Callaghan (December 20th) in the august columns of The Irish Times.

The Irish seem to take a special pleasure in England’s difficulty, most famously in the Easter Rising of April 24-29th 1916, which still divides opinion on this island.

I have come to the conclusion that it is better to be hated by the Irish than patronised by them. But mutual respect would be even better.

And I wonder why we bothered to go to war in defence of Poland in 1939. – Yours, etc,


FTCD (Leader: English Parliamentary Party, 2001),

Trinity College,

Dublin 2.