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No-Deal Brexit May Create Delays at Irish Ports

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Dublin Port (file image)

By The Maritime Executive 2019-07-18 17:13:16

Irish leader Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has warned that there will almost certainly be delays at Ireland's seaports in the event of a no-deal Brexit, despite extensive preparations.

Both leading candidates to replace British prime minister Theresa May have called for removing a special customs status provision for Northern Ireland from the proposed EU withdrawal agreement, a change that the European Commission is almost certain to reject. Without an agreement with the EC, Britain is set to "crash out" of the EU without a customs and trade deal on October 31. As with previous Brexit deadlines, this timeline could change: the new EC president, Ursula von der Leyen, has left the door open to a further extension if required. 

Varadkar's administration is already preparing for a no-deal Brexit in October. It has hired an additional 700 customs officials and has set up extra space for inspections at the Dublin and Rosslare commercial ports. The Irish government will also enable online customs declarations in order to speed up paperwork.

However, in an interview with RTE Radio, Varadkar said that there will definitely be delays due to the new customs regime. “Will there be delays at Dover and Calais? Absolutely. Will there be potential delays at Dublin and Rosslare? Yes," he said. "I cannot see there not being delays. This is a big change."

Micheál Martin, leader of center-right opposition party Fianna Fáil, warned that the disruption at Dover would be considerably worse than Varadkar's government has portrayed. "There is a lot of huffing and puffing, but I am told the ports are not ready. Dublin Port is not ready for a no deal Brexit, despite what you hear, and presentations and I am told by people who know the port, with experience of the port, that mayhem will ensue," he said Wednesday.