The Cruising Association has said attempts to approach the Irish Government have proved 'fruitless' and currently it 'remains essentially impossible' to take a dog or a cat to the Republic of Ireland on a yacht

Sailing to Ireland with a dog or cat ‘remains essentially impossible’, according to the Cruising Association (CA), which has tried to address concerns with the Irish Government.

Since Brexit, sailors from the UK who want to take their cat or dog to Ireland, have to ensure the animal is vaccinated and certificated immediately beforehand (existing paperwork is not accepted) and then apply online to the Department of Agriculture for permission, which will be granted.

However, the yacht must arrive at a designated Traveller’s Port of Entry, which means Dublin, Rosslare or Cork. The commercial port areas of all three are out of bounds to yachts.

A ginger cat sitting on top of the deck of a sailing yacht

Since Brexit, GB pet passports are no longer allowed, although Northern Ireland pet passports are. Those sailing with a dog or cat from the UK to Ireland must have a health certificate for their pet issued by UK authorities

‘As the 2022 season draws to a close it remains essentially impossible to take a dog or a cat to the Republic of Ireland on a yacht,’ said a CA spokesperson.

‘The Dublin area’s marinas are one to six miles away from the port, and in the case of Cork, further. Rosslare used to offer a welcome to passing yachts, but with the phenomenal growth of its traffic (the small harbour, 400 metres square, has six arrivals and six departures a day from ships of 25,000 tons and more) the harbourmaster can no longer permit access. The nearest marina is 14 miles away, and none of the eight port vets is prepared (or indeed allowed) to go there to check in a pet.’

‘The restriction is said to be an EU requirement and Ireland is not in a position to ignore EU rules. However, the definition of Traveller’s Port of Entry is a matter for Dublin, not Brussels. Dublin airport has a procedure in the event of the Department office there being closed when a pet arrives, but no equivalent exists for arrival by sea,’ said the CA spokesperson.

‘The irony is that many dog owners arriving by ferry report no checks whatever being carried out on arrival.’

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The CA has made repeated approaches to the Department of  Agriculture but so far, it has ‘been fruitless’. It said it will pursue the issue further.

It said no CA members have reported experiences of trying to bring their pets to Ireland this summer.

‘This implies simply that nobody came (or perhaps ignored the rules but understandably do not wish to have it known). Northern Ireland has the same rules, with the ports of Belfast and Larne designated and also inaccessible, but they are essentially being waived at present while the debate over the Protocol continues,’ said the CA spokesperson, who added that Ireland had traditionally welcomed hundreds of visiting yachts from Great Britain every year, and was looking forward to the traffic resuming after the COVID-19 pandemic, but ‘that has been thwarted by bureaucracy.’

The commercial port of Dublin is out of bounds for visiting yachts. Credit: Getty

The commercial port of Dublin is out of bounds for visiting yachts. Credit: Getty

Yachting Monthly contacted the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine about sailing to Ireland with a dog or cat.

A spokesperson said: ‘All pets from non-EU countries must undergo a compliance check on arrival, and to facilitate this they must enter through a designated Travellers Point of Entry (TPOE). This is required across all EU countries, as per the Pet Travel Regulation (EU) 576/2013. TPOEs are: Dublin Port, Dublin Airport, Rosslare Europort, Cork Airport, Ringaskiddy (Cork) Port and Shannon Airport. If travellers require more information on pet travel rules please see – Pet Travel (’

Enjoyed reading Sailing to Ireland with your dog remains ‘essentially impossible’?

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