Tuesday, 24 September 2019
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
380. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to upgrade the Port of Cork to the status of a border inspection post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38346/19]
381. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine his plans to upgrade Cork Airport to the status of a border inspection post in the event of a no-deal Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38347/19]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 380 and 381 together.
My Department has been actively participating in the whole-of-Government approach to Brexit preparedness and contingency planning. This includes the designation and approval of border inspection posts at ports and airports. The focus to date has been on infrastructure developments and upgrades at border inspection posts in Dublin port, Rosslare and Dublin airport, due to the volume of trade flows with the UK.
The decision to designate or seek approval for facilities at a port or airport to carry out import controls on certain regulated products and live animals is based on trade flow analysis and is typically driven by a request from the authority responsible for that port or airport.
Once such a request is received, this begins a process to identify where such a facility could be built. The requirements for a border inspection post would be outlined, which would include the inspection facilities and the accommodation requirements for the staff. This facility would need to comply with the relevant EU regulations, and be approved for use by the Commission.
The Port of Cork Company has approached my Department with respect to the establishment of a border inspection post in the Port. However, in December 2018, they advised my Department that they did not intend to pursue the construction of a border inspection post at that time.
Although the Port of Cork does not have an approved border inspection post, it is designated as a point of entry for bulk shipments of wood and wood products as outlined in Council Directive 2000/29, as amended. The facility conducting these controls is currently in operation.
Cork Airport has not engaged with my Department with respect to the potential construction of a border inspection post.
My Department would consider any requests received on a case-by-case basis but the immediate focus is on preparing for a potential no-Deal Brexit on 31 October within a whole-of-Government approach including further developing our existing border inspection posts.