Irish firms will face numerous challenges even under the softest of Brexit deals, the director of public policy and taxation at Chartered Accountants Ireland has warned.

Article by Eamon Quinn on Irish Examiner

Brian Keegan said any deal which leads to the UK staying in much of the EU customs union for goods but doesn’t cover all goods will mean that Irish firms will “need to make preparations”.

The warning comes as Chartered Accountants Ireland and its corresponding institute in England and Wales, in a new report, urged businesses to examine the implications for their firms, including their supply chains and customs documentation that will likely affect profits.

The report, Taking the Lead, Chartered Accountants and Brexit, also sets out the issues for firms in Ireland and Britain such as the need to plan for new haulage routes to markets and to examine any new transit routes.

Practical issues include training for truckers, training for customs experts, calculating driving times, and new IT systems, according to the report.

Firms will “need to start getting to know the processes and data requirements now in order to smoothly transition through the Brexit changes,” the report says.

“Customs issues will be particularly pressing issues for the island of Ireland.

“Many small traders in Ireland who only trade with the UK will be facing customs administration for the first time. This will increase the administrative burden on these traders substantially. A number of designated and resourced crossings will be required on the island of Ireland to enable legitimate trade to flow and also to meet Ireland’s obligations under EU law.

“For example, in the agri-food sector, consignments of live animals and products of animal origin being brought into the EU can only be imported at an approved border inspection post. Goods of this nature can only be released once they have been cleared by customs authorities.”

The report illustrates the likely effects of Brexit on unnamed firms, including a large food producer which trades across the border and a Northern ready meals maker transporting goods through the Republic and the UK to the continent.