Stormont minister seeks post-Brexit assurance for hauliers

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Stormont Minister Seeks Post-Brexit Assurance For Hauliers
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By Rebecca Black, PA

Stormont Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has written to the UK and Irish governments seeking post-Brexit assurances for hauliers.

With just weeks to go until the end of the transition period and negotiations between the UK and EU ongoing, Ms Mallon told MLAs she has concerns over the potential impact to hauliers.

“I am sensitive to the fact that discussions between negotiating teams are ongoing and the outcome will be determined by the British Government and the EU,” she said.

“Any outcome that places a limit on the number of hauliers permitted to travel south to transport and receive goods such as the need for an ECMT permit will have the potential for serious supply chain disruption and detrimental economic impacts in the north.

“I welcome the recent contingency arrangements for a no deal announced by the EU which are subject to UK reciprocity and confirm that hauliers would not require an ECMT permit.”

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Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon (NI Assembly/PA)

She said her officials continue to “stress the importance of free movement by road hauliers on the island of Ireland to the British government”.

Ulster Unionist leader Steve Aiken pressed Ms Mallon secure commitments that Northern Ireland haulage firms will be able to work unimpeded in Britain, the EU and in Northern Ireland.

Ms Mallon said she has written to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the Irish Government highlighting her concerns.

“My officials at every opportunity are always stressing the importance and the uniqueness of the north in it’s situation and raising the concern that hauliers  are rightly expressing to us,” she said.

“I can assure the member we will continue to avail of every opportunity to raise the issues and concerns of our haulage sector given they are so critical to our economy.”

Road

The minister was also asked for an update on the redevelopment of the A5 road, which the Irish government is part-funding.

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Ms Mallon said her officials have “obtained detailed legal advice” which she will consider that advice before deciding on future steps.

“I can assure the member I have had useful discussions with Irish Transport Minister (Eamon) Ryan and the Taoiseach on delivering on our shared commitments,” she said.

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“I think it’s very good news that the Taoiseach announced in October that €500 million will be made available through the Shared Island Fund to deliver on the Irish Government’s commitment to build shared island infrastructure … and this funding is intended to contribute to the delivery to key infrastructure initiatives, including the A5.”

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