Ireland needs to prioritise investment in land and sea routes, serving south coast ports, to enable Irish exporters respond to Brexit, according to a report by the Irish Academy of Engineering (IAE). The report, 'Brexit: Implications for Transport Infrastructure Investment', prioritises development of Ringaskiddy port and Galway-Limerick-Cork-Ringaskiddy motorway. The publication is part of a series that focuses on vital national issues with a significant engineering dimension. It is intended as a contribution, by the academy, to the overall Brexit discussion. The report’s key findings are: • Brexit poses an existential threat to Ireland’s trading patterns; • Except for fuels, ores, grain, animal feed and transport equipment the vast bulk of Ireland’s goods trade is carried in trucks, on Roll On-Roll Off (Ro-Ro) ferries or in containers, on Load On-Load Off (Lo-Lo) vessels; • At present almost 85 per cent of this trade passes through Dublin Port, predominantly to the UK; • This trade is made up of three elements: • Our substantial two way trade with the UK; • Our trade with Continental Europe, two thirds of which is estimated to pass through the UK, much of it through the Port of Dover; • Our trade with Asia and Africa shipped via deep sea container ports in the UK. • Dover is the busiest Ro-Ro port in Europe and UK authorities recognize that Dover is incapable of operating a customs regime, because of the very limited land area at the port; • Dublin is the second busiest Ro-Ro port in the UK and Ireland and is now the busiest city port, for unitized freight i.e. Ro-Ro & Lo-Lo, in these islands; • Enlarging the capacity of Ireland’s south coast ports, particularly Ringaskiddy, would improve supply security and direct access to the Continent; • This would require new investment including completion of the Atlantic Cities Motorway Route linking Galway-Limerick-Cork-Ringaskiddy, to deliver one-hour travel times from Galway city to Limerick and from Limerick to the Dunkettle interchange, outside Cork; • This will require investment of €1.1-1.8 billion, dependent on the motorway routes chosen; • It would also contribute to balance regional development, by relocating a significant portion of the employment in supply chain management, warehousing and distribution, now concentrated in the GDA; • It would also reduce traffic congestion and housing demand in the GDA. Gabriel Dennison, CEO, the Irish Academy of Engineering, pictured right, said: “The impact Brexit will have on the Irish economy is becoming clearer as the EU-UK negotiations progress. A hard Brexit, with the UK leaving the Customs Union, is looking increasingly likely. If this happens, companies exporting to Europe from Ireland will face major disruption. “In particular, Irish exports passing through Dover will face unprecedented delays. If every one of the 10,000 trucks passing through Dover every day had an extra two-minute delay due to passport/customs checks it would cause a 17-mile tailback, according to Dover Port Authorities, affecting exports from Ireland destined for Europe.”

Irish Academy of Engineering

The Irish Academy of Engineering is an all-island body, concerned with long-term issues where the engineering profession can make a unique contribution to economic, social and technological development. Last year it published a series of discussion papers to contribute to the preparation of the National Planning Framework, on topics such as the Dublin-Belfast economic corridor, the Atlantic City Regions, climate change, sustainable transport, and broadband see: