Hauliers Representative Urges Clarity Over Port Checks
The Government has been urged to provide clarity following an order from Stormont Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots to stop Brexit port checks in Northern Ireland.
Seamus Leheny of Logistics NI said the sector has been plunged into confusion.
On Thursday morning lorries were still being received at a Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs checking facility in Belfast Port.
Mr Leheny said businesses received advice to continue to complete paperwork, saying, “there is a lot of confusion and a lot of anxiety with businesses, they weren’t too sure what they had to do, did they still have to fulfil the administration with regards to moving products of animal origin in here.”
“Generally the advice this morning from government departments is that you must still complete the paperwork to move goods in here. I’m not really too sure what is happening at the border control posts, we’ve not been told what is happening yet… but at the moment we have been told to keep doing the customs and keep doing the phytosanitary paperwork.”
He added, “we just need some stability and clarity, and that’s what is lacking. For the past year businesses have had obstacle after obstacle… we just need some calm heads in government and, ideally, the EU won’t make any rash decisions based on today and that they continue discussions on the Protocol and come to an agreed negotiation which would ultimately mean we have far fewer checks, if any, required and we reduce the amount of administration required as well.”
Mr Leheny said around 85% of movements do not require any checks, 12% need just paperwork checked and 3% require a physical inspection.
He said moving checks to the Irish border would be a “massive problem” with 12,000 goods vehicles crossing the border every day.
Meanwhile Owen Reidy, assistant general secretary of Irish Congress of Trade Unions, described Mr Poots’ decision to stop checks as “ultra political and wrong”.
Source: Irish News