Minister writes to 20,000 companies

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today announced that he has written to more than 20,000 client companies that are registered with his Department to remind them of the significant and enduring changes that will happen on the 1st January 2021 regardless of the outcome of the EU UK negotiations.  In his letter, the Minister is calling on business to urgently prepare for these customs and regulatory changes now.

The Minister said:

We are at a critical stage, given that there are fewer than 55 days until Brexit becomes a reality for us all. Things will change on 1 January 2021, regardless of what happens in the EU-UK negotiations. Businesses need to understand what this will mean.  There will be delays in the movement of goods compared to current Single Market-supported arrangements – and immediately take the practical steps necessary to prepare for these changes.

The letter highlights some of the changes that will occur in relation to animals and goods  imported from Great Britain, that export certification will be introduced by the UK on a phased basis from January and that Brexit will also impact on agri-trade transiting the UK landbridge.

The Minister added,

Once again I want to highlight the urgent actions that businesses importing animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin – and particularly the Operator Responsible for the relevant consignment – need to take to avoid disruption. In addition, can I urge existing clients to update their registration details with the Department so that we can ensure access to the Department’s import and export IT platforms, which have been specifically enhanced to deal with Brexit. The Department can also initiate the EU TRACES registration process, which is a key element of the overall import controls process. Therefore I am urging these businesses to engage with my Department via the online portal on our website or to contact us at

Beyond registration, there is a wide range of preparatory work for Brexit that businesses should engage in now, including reviewing supply chains, and familiarising themselves with complex customs and regulatory requirements. These are all highlighted in the letter.

The Department’s ongoing communications and stakeholder engagement campaign continues and has increased in intensity as the countdown to 1st January continues apace. The Department is engaged in a programme of dedicated weekly Brexit webinars in addition to Department officials updating stakeholders in relation to the wide range of Brexit readiness work at a wide range of fora.

Concluding, the Minister stated,

With just over 50 days until the end of the transition period, time is very short and action is required urgently. This is not something that can be left to the last minute, so I would again appeal to businesses in the agri-food sector to take action now. This includes attendance at our series of webinars, including the one to be held this Wednesday 11th November, on the Department’s import, controls IT portal, which has been developed specifically for Brexit.

Contact DAFM Brexit division via telephone (076) 106 4443 or via email to