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Ireland forced to ease customs checks on British shipments

British shipments

The Republic of Ireland’s Revenue department accused British firms of not being ready for extra requirements

The Republic of Ireland has been forced to temporarily ease customs checks on shipments from Great Britain after hauliers warned Brexit red tape could cause shortages of some goods and leave gaps on supermarket shelves.

Businesses have also encountered severe problems shipping goods into Northern Ireland, despite repeated claims by UK government ministers including Boris Johnson that there would be no border down the Irish Sea.

Hauliers travelling to Northern Ireland have said they are being “overwhelmed” by paperwork with scores of lorries being turned away from ports because they haven’t completed the documentation correctly.

The Republic of Ireland’s Revenue department issued a statement on Thursday night accusing many British firms of simply not being ready for extra requirements they should have known about in advance.

Revenue announced late on Thursday night that it would temporarily ease some customs arrangements to help get goods flowing into the Republic of Ireland and begin to ease a backlog of lorries already building up in England and Wales just days after the end of the transition period.

Under the “temporary easement”, exporters can use an emergency movement reference number (MRN) to allow them to board ferries if they are unable to complete all the necessary paperwork.

The Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) blamed the problems on IT systems that are not working properly and had not been tested, meaning businesses have not had time to get used to the new process – an assertion that Revenue strongly rejected.

Road Haulage Association spokesman Paul Mummery said that lorries which would normally cross from Holyhead in Wales to Dublin and drop off goods north and south of the border are choosing to reroute through Scotland and cross to Northern Ireland instead to try to avoid delays.

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