Supply chain disruption in UK as Taoiseach warns Brexit fallout is 'yet to come'

Supply chain disruption in UK as Taoiseach warns Brexit fallout is 'yet to come'

Mr Martin said the impact of the UK's exit from the EU has been masked by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the fallout from Brexit is still to come, as the UK grapples with supply chain delays and truck driver shortages that could cause Christmas disruption to the retail sector. 

Speaking to reporters in New York, Mr Martin said the impact of the UK's exit from the EU has been masked by the Covid-19 pandemic and will be felt in the coming weeks and months, with Ireland set to face knock-on effects.

Mr Martin described the issue as "a worry".

Britain has been struggling in recent weeks with deliveries and the retail industry has warned that the country has just ten days to solve an acute shortage of truck drivers to avoid disruption around Christmas.

"I think Covid has masked a lot of the issues around Brexit," Mr Martin said. 

"We've managed to weather some of the storm because we prepared well, and also because we're opening up things to Europe and so on, but I think from SMEs, for example, they're finding the lead times now for ordering goods and getting goods into countries much longer than it would have been before Brexit. 

"SMEs within Britain are finding it difficult in terms of accessing the European market, so I think the fallout has yet to come.

"I think everyone involved needs to reflect on how it's working because we owe it to everyone to ensure it's working smoothly. There hasn't been as much preparation on the British side and I think that's showing."

Mr Martin said he did not believe there would be further negotiations on the UK's post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach also said he is "committed to an evaluation" of how the pandemic has been handled in Ireland. 

He said, however, that it would not begin until next year because "all hands need to be on deck" in healthcare.

"That would allow people the space and the time to do this," he said.

Discussions are underway at government level on what form of commemoration will take place on the pandemic to remember and reflect on the people that were lost.

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