The Department of Enterprise has confirmed that it has granted derogations from EU trade sanctions to three Russian-flagged vessels carrying agricultural and food goods into Ireland, since sanctions on Russia were introduced following its invasion of Ukraine.

The Department could not specify further what classes of goods were imported by these three ships when queried by the Irish Farmers Journal.

There exists a clause in most EU sanctions to grant exemptions or derogations on the basis on humanitarian need, food security and to ensure that sanctions impact the targeted entities more than the EU, stated the Department of Enterprise.

“Exemptions and derogations are included for very good reasons, including to ensure security of supply of food and other essential products on the European market,” a spokesperson from the Department of Enterprise told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“The Department, on foot of recommendations from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has authorised derogations for three Russian-flagged vessels to access Irish ports to facilitate the importation of agricultural and food product,” they said.

The Department of Enterprise said that derogations are authorised by Department officials, rather than at ministerial level, and that applications made for any future such derogations would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Future derogation requests

The conditions for derogation or exemption would have to meet the standards required by EU regulation for any more vessels to be granted derogation, the spokesperson said.

“Almost all EU sanctions regimes provide for situations where, for various reasons, the sanctions do not apply,” according to the Department.

“These may take the form of exemptions, which apply automatically, or derogations, for which an authorisation issued by a competent authority is required,” said the spokesperson, adding that the Department of Enterprise was the competent authority for EU sanctions in Ireland.