According to the latest figures released by the Irish government, trade flowing along the Republic of Ireland and the UK routes has fallen by 50 percent in comparison to the same period last year.
The data presented by Dublin revealed that some businesses were experiencing “severe difficulty” in trying to adapt to the new controls and procedures since the UK withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
Irish officials contend that the initial drop in trade volume is bound up with a myriad of issues, notably post-Brexit checks and controls, restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic and stockpiling ahead of the end of the transition period.
Furthermore, Make UK, a body representing the UK manufacturing sector, claims in a survey that some 61 percent of businesses are suffering from supply chain disruption in terms of reciprocal trade with the EU.
Warning about “additional checks on goods and declarations between Great Britain and Northern Ireland”, Make UK argued that “while a number of companies seem to be aware of these new checks, not all companies have put the necessary plans and practices in place. One in five companies say they are aware and have registered for the trader support service in Northern Ireland”.
Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Arlene Foster, accused Boris Johnson of a “dereliction of duty” before demanding decisive action from the Prime Minister amid the EU’s determined – but hitherto unsuccessful – push to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The activation of Article 16 effectively means the return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.