Brexit negotiations are not going well, and unless a good free trade agreement is reached before the end of the year, there will be disastrous consequences for Holyhead Port, putting many hundreds of jobs at risk.
This has been widely recognised for a long time, and it’s not just a question of tariffs. For example, Aodhán Connolly of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium has warned that any increase in non-tariff barriers for the goods that usually go from Holyhead to Dublin will lead to greater use of alternative routes because “the supply chain always takes the path of least resistance”.
This situation must be avoided. Holyhead Port is the second busiest roll-on roll-off ferry port in the whole of the UK. It is key to the future prosperity of Ynys Môn.
Protection of the port should be a priority for our MP Virginia Crosbie, but she continues to support the hardline stance taken by Boris Johnson and the chief UK negotiator, David Frost.
Some posturing is inevitable during the negotiation process but it will be in nobody’s interests if an agreement is not reached. At least, it will be in nobody’s interests except those who see Brexit as a way to make money by reducing protections for workers, consumers and the environment.
There are plenty of Tory MPs and right-wing think tanks, such as the Institute of Economic Affairs, that would welcome such an outcome.
Going forwards, some flexibility will be needed on both sides. Simply repeating mantras such as the need to “stand up for Britain’s interests” masks some very real threats.
To help protect Holyhead Port, send your views to Virginia Crosbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.