Brexit and a looming crisis

 

Sir. – It is difficult to believe that so little has been done in relation to increasing direct shipping capacity from Ireland to mainland Europe (Stephen Collins, “Ireland faces devastating blow due to our failure to develop ferry services to Europe”’, Opinion & Analysis, September 25th).

Developing such capacity should have been a central plank over the last few years in preparing for Brexit, regardless of which outcome emerges from negotiations.

It would remove a key bargaining chip of the British government, and which this week they played to the full yet again, save hours of driving for each lorry driver, and help the environment.

Does it make sense to have big trucks trundling through densely populated Britain when an alternative direct sea route could be made available? Especially now when huge delays in Kent are probable from next January.

If New Zealand has managed to trade very successfully and reliably, thousands of kilometres from its main markets, surely Ireland can also find a way to trade with mainland Europe without having to go through Britain. – Yours, etc,

JOHN O’HAGAN,

Emeritus Professor

of Economics,

Trinity College Dublin),

Sandycove,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – I read Stephen Collins’s article in today’s paper with mounting alarm. Can it be that we have left the bulk of our exports to the tender mercies of this British government?

A no-deal Brexit will surely see Boris Johnson flailing about, blaming everyone in Europe except himself. British truck drivers will be stuck queuing at the border of the “Republic of Kent”. Meanwhile, our vital exports will be used as a pawn in the game.

It is inconceivable that a British government at bay as a result of the chaos caused by a no-deal Brexit will be either willing or able to take on its own haulage industry to ensure smooth passage for ours. Alternatives to the so-called “landbridge” are needed now. – Yours, etc,

JOHN MOLLOY,

Malahide,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – The Brittany Ferries direct sea route from Cork to Santander in Spain, incorporating an additional weekly sailing to Roscoff in France, which was aimed largely at the freight trade, was inaugurated in 2018 in the Port of Cork with much fanfare.

With a possible hard Brexit looming, the Port of Cork authorities had foreseen the problems of the land-bridge route to the continent and negotiated this new route. It would precisely obviate the need for trucks to travel through Britain.

The ferry service was withdrawn in January this year because, according to the chief executive of Brittany Ferries, Christophe Matthieu, “the reality is that freight numbers, which are key to route viability, were not sufficiently robust” (Business, January 29th).

Given a long-foreseeable possible no-deal Brexit, it is somewhat ironic that Irish hauliers are now complaining and demanding more direct sea connectivity to Europe. – Yours, etc,

MARTIN KRASA,

Cork.