The Government’s preparedness and contingency planning for Brexit has from the start included issues relating to the continued effective use of the UK landbridge. This is a priority for the Government given its importance for Irish exporters and importers as a means of access to the rest of the single market, in particular with regard to agri-food products. This is an important issue with regard to protecting the competitiveness of our producers and ensuring continued unhampered access to the EU Single Market.
Retaining the effective use of the landbridge post-Brexit has been discussed at both political and official level with the UK and the EU. As a result of these contacts, the importance of maintaining the landbridge has been recognised through the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland in the draft Withdrawal Agreement. This reaffirms the commitment of the UK to facilitate the efficient and timely transit through the UK of goods moving from Ireland to another EU Member State or another country, or vice versa.
To this end, I welcome the EU's agreement that the UK will join the Common Transit Convention upon its departure from the EU, and that the formal process required for this to happen has concluded. The UK’s accession to the Common Travel Convention will play an important role in ensuring Ireland’s access to other EU Member States via the UK landbridge. Work has been ongoing in partnership the European Commission and affected Member States with regard to the Union's internal transit procedures and infrastructural solutions at EU ports to facilitate transit post-Brexit and is progressing well, though the risk of delays in a no deal Brexit scenario remains a concern notably on the Dover-Calais route.