Brexit: Talks ongoing to prevent sausage ban 

ireland
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Vivienne Clarke

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said that negotiators will work hard to ensure there is no ban on a wide range of foods moving between the UK and Ireland.

Talks are ongoing to avoid a potential two-way ban on the movement of foods, such as sausages, minced-based meats and prepared meals, between Britain and Ireland.

Mr McConalogue said the necessity for such talks was a reflection of the challenges that Brexit presented and highlighted how complicated the whole issue was.

Under EU rules, there are restrictions on certain meat products from outside the European Union.

Such products would therefore be prohibited from entering Northern Ireland from the UK, as it will still be operating EU food safety rules from January 1st under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

However, the UK has indicated it will, in turn, apply reciprocal restrictions on such foods coming from Ireland.

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This is because the UK had indicated it will replicate the EU's food safety regime, including the EU’s range of restrictions on certain meat products.

Mr McConalogue said it was important that there be strong engagement to see how the issue can be resolved. He denied that this was an example of “brinksmanship”, it was a reflection of how complicated the issue was.

There was no doubt that the Northern Ireland protocol was the best possible outcome, but it did not resolve all the issues, he said.

“Across the board from January 1, there are going to be significant changes," he told RTÉ Radio.

This will mean extra administrative work for businesses exporting to the UK, they need to be prepared and to look to their supply chains, he warned.

If a trade deal is not concluded before the end of the year it will make trade between Ireland and the UK a lot more difficult, he said.

With regard to fisheries he said that he wanted to protect the existing quotas that the Irish fishing industry has, but this was going to be difficult.

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