I and my Department have kept in close contact with road haulage industry throughout the Brexit negotiations and will continue to do so. I met the Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) on Tuesday 29 January last.
The Government's priority remains the ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement, which would maintain current arrangements in road haulage, including cross border arrangements, during a transition period up to the end of 2020.
As part of its no deal Brexit Contingency Action Plan the EU Commission has proposed a temporary arrangement that would apply for a nine month period in a no deal scenario. If the Withdrawal Agreement comes into force the proposal will not be required. The proposal is conditional on the UK offering equivalent reciprocal rights to all EU licensed road hauliers in the UK post Brexit, including Irish hauliers, which the UK has confirmed it is willing to do.
These arrangements would apply between Ireland and Northern Ireland in exactly the same way as they apply between Ireland and Britain, or indeed anywhere else in the EU 27 and the UK.
While discussions of this proposal are at an advanced stage in the Council with a view to having the new Regulation in place for 29 March 2019, this is a matter that will only be finalised when the proposed Regulation has completed its passage through the Council and European Parliament and when the UK has enacted its reciprocal rights.