independent

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Browne warns of 'potential chaos' at Europort

Ongoing work at the OPW site at Rosslare Harbour
Ongoing work at the OPW site at Rosslare Harbour

Pádraig Byrne

Fianna Fáil TD James Browne has once again warned of 'potential chaos' at Rosslare Europort in the event of a no-deal Brexit, having received confirmation that works being carried out to make the port Brexit ready will not be completed until January 2021 at the earliest.

With the UK currently slated to leave the EU at the end of the month, this means that Rosslare Europort will be reliant on temporary customs and border posts for a minimum of 14 months.

'I have raised this with a string of Government ministers. Rosslare Europort has been consistently ignored by the Government,' Deputy Browne said. 'If there is no deal, potential chaos is bound to meet Rosslare Europort. Hauliers, particularly smaller ones, are not ready. They do not have the funds to prepare in advance, so they are waiting to see what happens. My Party and I have been asking questions for months and it is clear we will not be ready in time.'

'If traffic congestion becomes the norm, it will almost certainly negatively impact the community in Rosslare Harbour. Access in and out of the village by local people will become extremely difficult and local businesses may suffer as a result.'

It was also announced that Revenue has appointed an additional thirty staff to Rosslare, something Deputy Browne welcomed, but he says it's 'ridiculous' to expect them to cope with temporary customs arrangements for more than a year.

Work is continuing at a rapid pace at the 16 acre site secured by the OPW to house the temporary customs checks in Rosslare. Local councillor Ger Carthy visited the site last week and says it was naive for any elected officials to believe that Rosslare could be fully Brexit ready any quicker.

'Did these people think that a €40 million development could be delivered in a few months?' he asked. 'Around €15 million is to be made available to fund the link road that will link the Harbour with the Oylegate to Rosslare bypass.'

'It's important to remember that this situation is not of our making as well,' he said.

'It's Britain that's brought this about. The millions that are being spent on that 16 acre site in Rosslare would be much better spent looking after mental health services or something like that. I know the money comes from the EU, but with all the money that's going into this, why couldn't they have helped us sort out our health system?'

Furthering Deputy Browne's inference that Rosslare is being ignored, he hit out at the government for failing to mention the Europort or the Dublin to Rosslare rail line in a letter sent to the EU Transport Commissioner about the TEN-T core network.

The TEN-T network aims to create a European wide network of transport routes and chosen routes benefit from additional funding.

'Over the past three and a half years, I have raised the potential of Rosslare Europort and the Rosslare rail line numerous times in the Dáil. However, it's clear that Minister Shane Ross isn't listening,' Deputy Browne said.

'He had the opportunity to explain to EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc why Rosslare Europort is critically placed for the transport of goods post-Brexit. Instead, he completely ignored Rosslare Europort and the Dublin to Rosslare line. It's bizarre to think that, after numerous reminders and in light of Brexit threats, Minister Ross would omit Rosslare from this important submission.'

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