Meanwhile, the chief of the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) has issued a dire warning about the implication of new customs checks and import controls, admitting: “God only knows what the level of disruption will be.” With barely a fortnight before the end of the transition period, unless a deal is struck EU ships will be prohibited from UK waters from January 1.
The Irish Government is concerned as a result they will target Irish seas instead, putting enormous pressure on fish stocks.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue pleaded with EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier to make sure UK access to the single market was conditional on continued access share for EU fleets to British waters.
Mr McConalogue said: “It’s really important as we come towards what we hope will be a positive outcome that there is recognition there from the British government that, in return, there are many positive aspects of being part of the free trade market, that that needs to work both ways, in particular in relation to reciprocal access to waters and also maintenance of quota share.
“Any reduction in our fish quota we want to avoid at all costs. That’s why the attachment of the fish negotiations to other aspects of the free trade agreement (FTA) is really important.”
In the event of a no-deal outcome, French, Belgian, German, Danish and Norwegian vessels, could instead move on to Irish waters.
Mr McConalogue who was speaking at the start of a two-day meeting to thrash out annual catch limits for commercial stocks, known as Total Allowable Catches (TACs).
More than 150,000 cross the land bridge between the Republic of Ireland and Europe via the UK.
He added: “Even without the new checks and controls our ports are heavily congested at certain peak times.
“God only knows what the level of disruption will be once the new checks and controls take effect from 1 January 2021.
“For our members, these new checks and controls will have huge implications and massive knock-on consequences.
“It is vital that there is a single entity that takes responsibility for the free movement of traffic at our ports so that this does not fall between the cracks.”
Mr Drennan said the road haulage industry’s biggest concern is “scoring own goals” because of the arrangements put in place to cope with the backlog by the Government.
He added: “Everything is going to cost a lot more and if we score our own goals it will cost a lot more.
“We need have to have stockpiles because if we miss the ferry after being held up in the logjam getting into the port, it will cause delays to the market.
“It then cuts in to the time of the driver and anybody outside the immediacy of Dublin won’t get delivery until the following day.”