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‘Nobody can be 100% ready; we can just be as prepared as we can be’

Getting ready for Brexit: ‘Nobody can be 100% ready; we can just be as prepared as we can be’

Alan Delaney, owner of Delaney Performance Feeds: ‘We went from a very small business to something that has gotten much bigger; we now supply Aintree Grand National winning trainers, Gold Cup winners, and Champion Hurdle winners.’

Alan Delaney, owner of Delaney Performance Feeds: ‘We went from a very small business to something that has gotten much bigger; we now supply Aintree Grand National winning trainers, Gold Cup winners, and Champion Hurdle winners.’

 

Alan Delaney is the owner of Delaney Performance Feeds, a seller of horse feed and supplements, which he runs with his wife, Lisa. The Delaneys have a family heritage with horses, and Alan also works on a family farm with his father and brother where they breed, train and sell horses.

“We are right on the beach at Laytown, Co Meath and we train on the strand just up from where the Laytown Races are held,” says Alan. ‘My great-uncle would have trained the 1898 Irish Grand National winner, Porridge, on the same beach. We have continued on the tradition over the years.”

Delaney Performance Feeds started as a business 12 years ago when Alan was looking for a product to help a horse suffering from ulcers; he found the solution from Blue Grass Horse Feeds, a manufacturer based in Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

“The product worked really well and I asked them about their distribution in the Republic of Ireland,” says Alan, “and they didn’t have a whole lot of contacts built up so I took on the product and started selling it. We went from a very small business to something that has gotten much bigger; we now supply Aintree Grand National winning trainers, Gold Cup winners, and Champion Hurdle winners. We supply a lot of the major studs and international showjumpers too. So we have a big clientele that built up from a very small beginning.”

For logistics and transport we didn’t know how deliveries might be affected

As a small business with significant trade in the UK, Alan knew that Brexit would cause considerable problems for the company if he didn’t prepare. “For logistics and transport we didn’t know how deliveries might be affected,” he says.

“There were lots of questions that we had around customs and tariffs, and the kind of paperwork involved with that. There was a lot that we had never dealt with before and we knew it would put a major expense onto the business to get ready for all this, so that’s why I contacted InterTradeIreland.”

With the support granted, the company was able to bring in a consultant to work on a report on areas that they should focus on. “That report gave us a lot of peace of mind because we now knew where the issues could be, and we had some idea of what we would have to do,” says Alan.

“We had the sense that at least we could see the potential stumbling blocks. We were made aware that this work had to be done, but finding someone to do it at the moment is another thing,”says Alan, who contacted several customs clearance agencies.

“They kind of laughed at us,” he says. “They said that they just couldn’t take on all the work that was coming at them. They said they’d put us on the list, but that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, there was no way they could immediately get through all the work they had lined up at the moment.

“We have applied for the next stage of funding through InterTradeIreland,” says Alan, “which is the implementation phase, so we hope that through that we will be able to bring on someone who will be able to do customs clearance training with us, and then we will be able to handle that work.”

While Brexit has caused stress and extra workload for Alan, he says he feels as ready as he can be.

“A few weeks ago I think people were very concerned about it, but the last week or so, the mood has shifted,” he says. “Nobody knows where to turn so in a way, you just realise that nobody can be 100 per cent ready; we can just be as prepared as we can be.”