Irish attempt to kick start direct links with France amid Holyhead Brexit and Covid delays
The Irish Government are attempting to bring forward direct ferry services with France as Brexit and the new Covid-19 strain cause delays at Welsh ports.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said that extra ferries are being sought to bring food from France due to deliveries being under pressure.
The Irish press has identified “long delays in Holyhead” as one of the issues that have arisen, as well as the issues at Dover.
The Irish Government is “rushing” to open new sailings from Cherbourg to Rosslare today and is trying to start up a route from Dunkirk that was due to launch in January, they said.
“This is something that we will have to monitor and act on every day. We are in a situation with supply chains that are coming under pressure, for many different reasons, including COVID,” Paschal Donohoe said.
“There are things that are happening that could be beyond our control, in terms of decisions that are made elsewhere. But we will continue… to protect the functioning of supply chains.”
Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said he was in contact with the ferry companies to arrange more sailings from France, starting today. That would allow hauliers to supply food without having to go through the UK.
The Welsh government have requested “urgent” talks with the Irish Government after ferry passengers in Wales were banned from travelling to Ireland.
Yesterday the First Minister Mark Drakeford told the Prime Minister Boris Johnson that travel arrangements with the Republic of Ireland will be key to avoiding travel disruption on Wales’ roads.
According to a Wesh Government spokesperson, the First Minister made clear that arrangements with the Irish Republic were very important in avoiding the need for traffic management plans in Wales.
“On the impact of the travel bans imposed by European partners, the First Minister updated the meeting on the current situation at Welsh ports,” they said.
“While traffic management plans are not needed at this point, the First Minister made clear that arrangements with the Irish Republic were very important in sustaining that position. UK-wide supply chains for food, medical supplies, PPE and vaccines are robust.”