The importance of trade across the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic must not be forgotten in negotiations for the UK’s exit from the EU, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Following the ‘leave’ vote in yesterday’s referendum, FTA says coming out of the union risks new costs, restrictions and bureaucratic requirements being imposed on moving goods in and out of Europe – and that includes transport operations crossing the UK’s only land border with the Republic of Ireland.
Seamus Leheny, FTA’s Policy & Membership Manager for Northern Ireland, said: “Northern Ireland has enjoyed arrangements with its neighbour for almost 100 years for free movement, commercial, legal and social matters. The UK is Ireland’s largest mutual trading partner and this relationship must be maintained through the Brexit negotiations.”
Prime Minister David Cameron announced his intention to stand down in October after “steadying the ship” in the wake of the ‘leave’ vote. He said it would be up to his successor to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and negotiate the UK exit from the EU.
Once Article 50 is invoked, there will follow two years of negotiation between the remaining 27 countries and the UK about the totality of relations between the EU and UK.
FTA will be regularly updating its members on progress and pressing the Government to put freight transport at the top of the agenda.