Draft Brexit agreement reached with EU on Irish food exports

The use of a UK landbridge is very important for Irish exporters. Picture: PA

Irish and EU officials have reached a draft agreement to limit the impact of Brexit on the movement of Irish food products and live animals into the rest of the EU via the UK land bridge.

Irish food exports as a result of the deal will be able to access "green lanes" when they come off ferries traveling from British to continental ports.

The deal will require a change in EU rules governing the surveillance of food coming into the single market.

The agreement would limit the impact of Brexit on exporters of Irish food and live animals.

Speaking to Ocean FM, President of the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) Tim Cunninan explained the significance of the agreement. 

"It is encouraging that there will be no barriers and that there will be greenlanes allowing the exports of goods and live animals using the landbridge across the UK further on into EU countries," Mr Cunninan said.  

"Which would be a positive step in the negotiations on Brexit."

"Obviously we will have to wait to see the detail," Mr Cunninan said, "But I think if we can get greenlanes and use the UK as a landbridge going into Europe, it was a major concern for us the last couple of months that the route would be disrupted."

Simon McKeever from the Irish Exporters Association explains what the significance of the agreement means to businesses and how he thinks the regulations will work.

Mr McKeever said: "There will be some system project in place that will electronically recognise a truck coming off a UK ferry saying: 'This is an Irish originated truck with agri-food produce on it,' and it will be diverted to a particular part of the port where it will be able to go through."

Without the deal food and live animal exports from Ireland would face a significant increase in costs, delays and paperwork.

The deal will need to be approved by member states and will likely require a change to some EU import rules.