Tipperary farm leader says UK travel ban will be 'challenging to say the least'

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Tipperary farm leader says UK travel ban will be 'challenging to say the least'

IFA North Tipperary chair Imelda Walsh: UK travel ban will be 'challenging to say the least'

The decision to ban travel from to the UK to Ireland over the latest outbreak of Covid-19 in Britain will be challenging to say the least, according to Imelda Walsh, chair of North Tipperary IFA

"It fast forwards what we were expecting from January 1 with Brexit," she said.

Ms Walsh said that the delay in not having direct sailings to the  continent was "regrettable".

"It’s time for Ireland to fire  up the ferries now that the landbridge is out of operation," she said.

At the moment 3,000 Irish trucks use the landbridge and there are around 250 Irish truck drivers stuck at the port of Dover with no roadmap how these drivers are going to be able to get to the continent, Ms Walsh pointed out.

"It is particularly worrying for the Irish agri-sector, bearing in mind we export €5.5bn of food and drink products into the UK market, with much of it being chilled and fresh food products. One of the leading retailers in the UK, Sainsburys, is already warning their customers of shortages of certain food supplies due to restrictions at ports," said the IFA chair. 

Ms Walsh said that it was imperative that there was dialogue between our Government, the UK government and the EU as how this issue can be managed.

"We cannot have a situation whereby fresh food becomes spoiled," she said.

Ms Walsh said the development also highlighted the massive challenges Brexit was going to pose irrespective of a deal being agreed.

"As a country that exports 90% of what is produced by the agri-sector we need to be confident that all parties are going to leave no stone unturned to ensure a smooth transition and that food products can move seamlessly within the EU," she said.