The current EU rules on the movement of equidae between EU Member States require that the animals being moved are inspected by an official veterinarian and accompanied by a veterinary health certificate issued under the EU TRACES system and a horse passport issued by an approved horse passport issuing body.
However, these rules also allow Member States which have implemented alternative but equivalent health control systems in their respective territories, to grant one another derogations from the standard movement rules. The derogation provided for under Community rules on the movement of equidae is applicable to movements between EU Member States only. It is not inclusive of movements between the EU and Third Countries.
Currently, Ireland is part of a Tripartite Agreement (TPA), along with the UK and France which allows for the movement and trade of horses between the three countries without undergoing veterinary inspections and without health certificates. As the TPA is based on EU legislation on the movement of horses within the EU, the UK cannot be part of the Agreement once it becomes a Third Country.
When that happens, equine animals moving from the UK to the EU will have to be accompanied by health certificates. For certain categories of equine animals, there will be requirements to be resident for a minimum period in the country of origin (i.e. the UK) before export to the EU. The UK has stated, in a series of no-deal Brexit notices, that in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, the UK will not require horses moving from Ireland to the UK to be accompanied by health certificates. Requirements applicable to equine animals travelling between Ireland and the Continent via the UK Landbridge is currently subject to clarification by the Commission.
I can assure the Deputy that my Department will continue to engage with the Irish equine industry and the Commission in an effort to minimise the disruption that may result from changing requirements regulating the movement of horses post-Brexit. However, it should be recognised that these changes will have a significant impact on the industry.