Fears over the Republic’s food supply chain being disrupted were raised this week after Boris Johnson announced he would suspend Parliament for five weeks, which critics say is a ploy to prevent MPs from thwarting his no deal plans. The latest Brexit warning came from the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, which said the country’s retailers lack the space to stockpile even a couple days’ foods to get them through the first stage of the upheaval.
Aidan Flynn, general manager of the Association, said deliveries from UK-based warehouses usually arrive with in 24 hours of orders being placed but a no deal would cause deliveries to be significantly delayed.
And he questioned how the country would cope at all when it comes to meeting the demand for bread, as the majority of the flour used by Irish bakers comes from foreign mills.
Mr Flynn told the Irish Independent: “Stores here have no space to stockpile anything, not even two days of products. They are seriously constrained.
“Everything will take days longer. And in the event of a no deal, there’s going to be absolute chaos for months.”
He added: “Cold storage and chilled warehousing is in particularly short supply.
“There certainly isn’t enough available to stockpile levels we would need to cope.”
With two months to go until the UK breaks ties with Brussels, Lidl Ireland said it was holding workshops with suppliers to prepare for a hard Brexit.
The retail giant said it was working to reduce its dependency on UK producers, turning to local suppliers to meet shoppers’ demand.
9.01am update: Ireland slams UK for not proposing backstop alternatives – ‘let’s hear them!’
Ireland’s Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has criticised the UK Government for failing to come up with “credible” alternatives to the Irish border backstop.
Speaking to reporters in Helsinki on Friday, Mr Coveney said Boris Johnson could not assume the backstop would be scrapped if all he offered was a pledge to find a solution in the future, saying Ireland needed to see concrete proposals on how it would be replaced.
He said: “We all want to get a deal but, at the moment, nothing credible has come from the UK government in terms of alternatives to the backstop,.
“If there are alternatives to the backstop that do the same job, well then let’s hear them. And if we can work out a deal on that basis, so be it. But it’s got to be credible.
“It cannot simply be this notion that we must have the backstop removed and we’ll solve this problem in the future negotiations, without any credible way of doing that.”
Mr Coveney was speaking in Finland’s capital where he is holding Brexit talks with EU peers, including colleagues from the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps hit back at Mr Coveney saying: “It’s just not true. We are putting forward alternatives.”
Arriving at the gathering in Helsinki, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said that accusations that the Prime Minister’s prorogation of Parliament was a constitutional outrage were “nonsense”.
8.44am update: European citizens should stay in UK after Brexit – Shapps
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the UK wants settled EU citizens to remain in their adopted home after the country breaks ties with Brussels.
8.26am update: Enough MPs to block Johnson’s no deal plan, says Chakrabarti
Shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti said she believed there was enough support among MPs to force through a change in the law to block the prime minister from crashing the UK out of the EU.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “My own soundings and those of colleagues in discussions over the last couple of days, in particular since the constitutional outrage, give me greater comfort that minds are now focused, especially on the Conservative side,.
She said she believed any law change would also make it through the Lords.
“I know that all sorts of high jinks have been discussed, filibusters and so on, but I believe that there are means of preventing any sort of public school dirty tricks working, even in the House of Lords,” she said.
Baroness Chakrabarti said if the Government continues its approach to Brexit Britons should “take to the streets” in protest.