New post-Brexit checks at Northern Ireland’s ports will not be ready until the middle of next year, the Stormont Agriculture Minister has said.
Goods coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain will be subject to inspections from January following the end of the transition period.
Although the region will be outside the European Union, under a deal to avoid new checks or controls on the Irish border, Northern Ireland will enforce the EU’s customs code at its ports.
Edwin Poots said temporary facilities will be in place by the middle of December.
“The development of the facilities will not be completed until the middle part of next year in terms of the programme that has been paid for by the UK Government,” he told MLAs.
“They have given some money for the development of temporary facilities which will be available for the middle of December and consequently there will be facilities available for veterinarians in place at the various ports.”
Earlier Mr Poots confirmed plans to employ another nine veterinary officers and 14 portal inspectors at points of entry, primarily in Larne and Belfast, from the end of the transition period.
“These additional posts are currently being filled,” he said.