I and my officials have been working hard, in conjunction with other Departments and Agencies, to ensure the minimum possible disruption to trade in agri food products between Ireland and Great Britain, while at the same time discharging our obligations under EU legislation.
The requirements in this area are significant, and arise in relation to the carrying out of documentary, identity and physical checks on imports of animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin, as set out in EU legislation.
Work in this regard has been focused on three key areas, namely, infrastructure, staffing and information technology, at three key locations, that is Dublin Port, Rosslare Port and Dublin Airport. I am confident that the state will be in a position to apply the relevant measures at the appropriate time.
Among the priorities set by the Irish Government at the outset in relation to the Brexit negotiations was the protection of the Good Friday Agreement, and the avoidance of a hard border on the island of Ireland. The only way to ensure an orderly withdrawal of the UK from the EU is for the UK Parliament to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement, with its backstop provisions, as already endorsed by the UK Government and the European Council.