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The Brexit transition period will end in December with or without a trade deal between Britain and the European Union agreed. But during negotiations, concerns were raised about customs deals between Northern Ireland and the Republic.
But now, Taoiseach Micheal Martin has warned businesses to “get ready” for change and ruled out any possibility of a grace period for business after the transition period ends.
He said: “The bottom line is you need to get ready.
“That concern has been shared with me this morning in terms of preparation and readiness.
“There is still time for people to get ready.
“The deadline is January 1 because the UK will be outside of the customs union and outside of the single market.
“That’s the bottom line.
“It will be a third country in the context of the European Union.
“People just need to knuckle down now.
“If you work with the State agencies you will get a lot of assistance.”
While visiting Dublin Port today, Mr Martin said he is “hopeful” a deal would be in place by the end of this week.
He continued: “A deal is necessary, and a deal is in the best interest of the United Kingdom, of Ireland and of the European Union.
“The fact is that engagement has continued, and it’s fair to say the engagement has been of an intensive nature now for some weeks.
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“President Ursula von der Leyen did say to EU leader last Thursday night that there are texts now on all areas.
“I would be hopeful that by the end of this week we could see the outline of a deal.
“That remains to be seen.
“It’s down to political will, both in the United Kingdom, I’m clear the political will is there in the European Union.
“One must remain hopeful that a deal can be arrived at.”
He went on to say a deal is “important for jobs and for all those who are in business”.
Mr Martin also said he senses there has been some progress made by both negotiating teams.
He continued: “I do sense that both negotiating teams, they’ve made progress, that’s the point.
“I think the presentation made last week by the President of the Commission was probably one of the more hopeful presentations made to date.
“Therefore one has to remain hopeful that they can pull one off.”
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