As an island, Ireland is very dependent on maritime and air transport connectivity for imports and exports. The UK ‘landbridge’ is also very important for the distribution of goods, as is the use of direct shipping routes to continental EU ports.
The landbridge describes the route to market connecting Irish importers and exporters to international markets via the UK road and ports network. It is particularly important for short shelf-life products. With the UK leaving the EU, there are implications for the continued use of the UK as an efficient and reliable route to other markets.
Government’s priority is to continue to work with our EU partners to maintain air and road connectivity even in a no deal Brexit and to facilitate continued trade and economic development.
We want to minimise disruption to the UK landbridge while recognising that direct shipping routes to continental ports could provide potential alternative routes for traders who currently rely on the landbridge.
Airlines that may be affected by these areas are already acutely aware of this issue. Government has been engaging on these issues with the aviation sector, including through the National Civic Aviation Development Forum. The contingency measures currently being proposed by the EU, if agreed, will ensure that flights between the EU and UK will continue even in a no deal Brexit. These measures are dependent on the UK applying reciprocal measures. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.
When the UK leaves the EU, businesses that move goods between Ireland and other EU countries by road through Britain will face new rules and processes under the customs transit procedure. This procedure would use the New Computerised Transit System to allow for electronic monitoring of the movement of goods and requires operators to provide a guarantee to underpin the lifetime of the movement.
For consignments of animals and animal products, a documentary check will also be required. This can be done via TRACES – the EU system for recording imports of animals and animal products into the EU. Please see Trading with the UKfor further detail on TRACES and for more general information on exporting or importing goods including animals and animal products.
In order to continue to use the landbridge in the most efficient way post-Brexit, businesses are encouraged to:
A no deal Brexit could disrupt Irish hauliers’ access to and through the UK. We are working with our EU partners to find solutions for the road haulage sector. In the event of no deal, the EU will have a temporary measure in place so that EU hauliers can continue to access the UK and vice versa. This is dependent on the UK applying reciprocal measures. Further information will be provided as it becomes available.
If you are resident in Ireland and hold a UK driving licence: If you hold a UK driving licence and are resident in Ireland, you should apply to exchange your UK licence for an Irish licence. In a no deal scenario, post-Brexit UK licences will not be valid for those who are resident in Ireland. You should contact the National Drivers Licence Service for further detail. The NDLS has also published some useful FAQs on its website.
In the case of non-EU or ‘third’ countries, legislation exists under our Road Traffic Acts to allow for the recognition of foreign driving licences for exchange purposes. If there is a no deal Brexit, the UK will become a third country, and arrangements can then be made for the exchange of UK driving licences. Ireland is pursuing this option, however it may take a little time to complete as it involves the signing of a formal agreement with the UK and the introduction of secondary legislation here in Ireland.
In a no deal scenario and without such an agreement, this would mean that if you are resident in Ireland and have not exchanged your UK driving licence before the UK leaves the EU, you will need to apply for an Irish licence. Currently this involves completing a theory test, a course of driver training and passing a driving test.
Visiting Ireland on a UK licence: You will be able to drive on a driving licence from the UK for up to one year provided the driving licence is current and valid.
Driving in the UK on an Irish licence: The UK Government’s stated position is that, post Brexit, arrangements for EU licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK would not change. Visitors to the UK, with driving licences from EU Member States, will enjoy the same arrangements as today.
There are also potential issues around UK issued Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC) for Drivers and Transport Managers and their continued validity post-Brexit and recognition of such in Ireland in a no deal scenario.
The vast majority of Irish motor insurance policies cover driving in the UK, as they refer to the UK specifically. A small number of policies may refer to travelling ‘in the EU’ rather than explicitly referring to the UK.
If you are in doubt, you should contact your insurance company to confirm that you have UK cover.
At present, all motor vehicles from any EU country, including the UK, may travel within the EU without carrying special documentation to prove they have insurance in the country they are visiting. This will change when the UK leaves the EU.
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) and the Association of British Insurers have advised those planning on driving Irish-registered vehicles in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, post-Brexit to get a Green Card from their insurance company.
Green Cards are internationally recognised insurance documents, which act as proof of motor insurance when travelling internationally. Drivers travelling from Northern Ireland or Great Britain to Ireland will also be required to carry a Green Card.
MIBI, the body responsible for the Green Card system in Ireland, has circulated approximately 1 million Green Cards to insurers and brokers. All insurers are now issuing Green Cards on request from their customers, with some insurers automatically issuing Green Cards to those living in border Counties. A number of insurers are issuing Green Cards to all policyholders.
If you intend to drive in Northern Ireland or Great Britain after Brexit and have not already received a Green Card, you should contact your insurance company to obtain one before you travel.
Seafarers Certificates, industrial products, ship recycling and registered organisations are matters that are dealt with at an EU level with our European partners. The EU has issued a number of notices in this area which have been communicated to stakeholders.
Sign up to the Brexit Update Newsletter to receive regular information on Brexit by email.
Click here to return to the Brexit and Business page.