By moving away from the British market and focusing on direct trade with the continent, Irish businesses have made the most of the post-Brexit trading environment, Fine Gael TD Neale Richmond has said.
Deputy Richmond, who is Fine Gael party spokesman on European Affairs, said: “As we approach one year of the new post-Brexit reality, the trading landscape in Ireland has been completely transformed.
“Brexit loomed over Irish businesses for many years, which allowed them to fully prepare for the changes to trade, including diversifying their trading routes away from the UK, where checks and customs duties now apply, and focusing on direct trade with the continent.
“As a result, in the first nine months of 2021, one-third of all ‘roll-on roll-off’ traffic in Ireland operated on direct routes to the continent, a dramatic increase from 19% in 2019.
“By September of this year, Ireland-EU traffic was already 52% above the total for 2019, as confirmed to me through Parliamentary Question from Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan.
“The shipping industry has adapted to this surge in demand, with 27 separate interventions by freight operators, including sixteen new services and five new vessels.
“While this is of great benefit to Irish traders, it is to the detriment of the British market, with traffic from Ireland to Great Britain falling by 20% in Q3 2021 when compared to 2019.
“The impact of this change on both Ireland and the UK’s economies will not be realised for some time, but changes to trade are unlikely to change.
“Trade will always follow the path of least resistance and with UK trade posing increased costs, delays and uncertainties for exporters, it is only natural for traders to seek out new markets and new routes to market.
“No-one wants to see any country suffer from shortages or hear of businesses having issues accessing goods because of Brexit. However, that those countries caught in the middle, including Ireland, would seek to maximise new opportunities is to be expected.
“No trading change will be as good as what we had before Brexit, but Irish businesses will not be left wanting, be it from the Government or the shipping industry, in their post-Brexit trading options”, Deputy Richmond concluded.