Irish businesses urged to start preparing for new post-Brexit checks

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Irish Businesses Urged To Start Preparing For New Post-Brexit Checks
A Customs vehicle at Dublin Port, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By James Ward, PA

Businesses in the Republic have been urged to start preparing for additional post-Brexit checks that are coming into force at the end of the month.

April 1st will mark the end of a three-month grace period, meaning health certificates will then be needed for all products of animal origin, as well as regulated plants and related products.

Tom Talbot, head of the Revenue’s customs operations at Dublin Port, said the best way to avoid additional delays to exports is for businesses to start preparing now.

Tom Talbot gives a briefing on the operation of Dublin Port (Julien Behal/PA)

He told a briefing on Monday: “It’s the unknown, will there be delays? That’s why we’re emphasising today to everybody to get ready for this.

“Preparation really is the key. We’ve learned that, if nothing else, from the 1st of January. Those who were prepared and have everything in place, it worked and it worked very well. Others are still catching up.

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“In terms of are there going to be delays, I really have to emphasise, everybody in that supply chain today – not tomorrow, don’t leave it a week, don’t leave it a month – look today.

“Where am I in that supply chain? What do I have to do to make sure that the exports from Ireland into the UK work on the 1st of April?”

From the beginning of next month, the UK will introduce new import controls on products of animal origin, including all meat, dairy, fish and composite products incorporating products of animal origin, as well as regulated plants and plant products.

This will mean that, in addition to customs formalities already in place, exporters in the Republic exporting to or through the UK will face a number of new requirements.

UK importers will have to pre-notify the UK authorities of the goods, and health certificates will be required from the Irish authorities to move the goods.

Declan Hughes, from the Department of Enterprise, said: “It’s important exporters and producers in Ireland come to terms with and understand the issues that they will have to deal with, and what those new documentary requirements will be for the first of April.”

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Hazel Sheridan, of the Department of Agriculture, warned that trainers heading to the Cheltenham Festival will need health certificates for their horses (Niall Carson/PA)

Horse trainers travelling to the UK for the Cheltenham Festival later this month have also been warned that their animals will require health certificates for their journey.

Hazel Sheridan, from the Department of Agriculture, said: “There’s a requirement for advanced notification on horses that are coming back into the country.

“There will be a requirement in relation to health certification. There are details in relation to that on our website. It’s really important that people are familiar with those and that they just be ready.

“The horses will have to stop in the ports for a check. We have plenty of experience in carrying out those checks at this point in time, and it’s not taking a particularly long length of time, provided you have all the documentation.”

Since the start of January, the Revenue has successfully processed more than 2.6 million customs declarations, compared with 1.6 million in the whole of 2020.

Additionally, more than 320,000 export declarations for goods movements to Great Britain were processed.

A total of 13,650 calls to Revenue’s 24/7 Customs Helpline were answered for the period January 1st to lunchtime on February 25th 2021, according to figures from the Revenue Commissioners.

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