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Freight Transport Association welcomes `unrestricted access' confirmation in event of no-deal Brexit

Freight Transport Association (FTA) welcome assurances that commercial vehicle operators in Northern Ireland will have unrestricted access to the Republic in the event of a no-deal Brexit
Marie Louise McConville

THE Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed clarification from the Department of Infrastructure that commercial vehicle operators in Northern Ireland will have unrestricted access to the Republic in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The FTA said last night that the special status for businesses in the north would help "maintain vital cross border, all-island supply chains".

However, the body said the lack of clarity on permits for British operators must be addressed to keep trade flowing freely to the Republic.

The FTA said it was originally told that Northern Ireland would only be eligible for approximately 60 ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) commercial vehicle permits per year.

However, Seamus Leheny, FTA's Northern Ireland Policy Manager explains, said that given that 4,000 goods vehicles cross the border between the north and the republic daily, that would have "inoperably damaged the transport industry and in turn, the businesses who rely on these imported goods and services to operate.

Mr Leheny said: "Thankfully, the NI Department for Infrastructure has confirmed all operators with a NI licence will not be required to obtain an ECMT permit to travel to ROI.

"While FTA welcome this special status for businesses in Northern Ireland – it will help maintain vital cross border, all-island supply chains in the event of a no-deal Brexit – the ideal scenario would be a UK-wide application".

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