“France is now Ireland’s closest neighbor in the EU and Brittany is the region closest to us”, underlined James Browne, Irish Minister Delegate to the Minister of Justice, during the meeting. a ceremony, evoking “a Brexit rebound” in relations between France and Ireland.
“French businesses are growing in Ireland, and France is one of the main markets for Irish goods, services and agricultural products,” the minister said, noting that trade between the two countries had jumped 18% the last year.
It was the president of Brittany Ferries, Jean-Marc Roué, who was appointed honorary consul, “a proud Breton”, “a peasant general manager”, described the minister, with reference to the origins of the shipping company, created in 1972 by Breton farmers anxious to find new outlets across the Channel.
The vice-president of the Brittany region in charge of international and Europe Stéphane Perrin praised him “the prospects for collaboration between the French and Irish ports that we had not suspected, thanks to Brexit”. “Thank you Boris Johnson!” he quipped.
“Brexit has created new challenges, for Ireland and for France. But where there are challenges, there are also opportunities,” said Niall Burgess, Irish Ambassador to France. The number of connections between Irish and French ports has quadrupled “in less than two years”, increasing from 12 crossings to almost 50 per week, he underlined.
Many Irish companies prefer to opt for the sea route rather than crossing the United Kingdom for their trade with the EU, told AFP the director of Enterprise Ireland France, Patrick Torrekens.
“It is a question of avoiding additional customs formalities. Passing through the British border, there are risks of delays” in the event of control, specified Mr. Torrekens.
Since 2019, passenger traffic has increased by 43% between France and Ireland and by 15% for freight, according to the new consul Jean-Marc Roué.
“We have the ambition to make our products known in Ireland”, also indicated the president of Brittany Ferries, whose main shareholder is the Sica of Saint-Pol-de-Léon (Finistère), the first French vegetable cooperative.
Roscoff pink onions were distributed to members of the Irish delegation after the ceremony.