The Irish food and drink sector is by far the most exposed of any sector in any country in Europe to Brexit – deal or no deal, according to Food Drink Ireland (FDI).
The Ibec group that represents the food and drink industry in Ireland, has published new economic analysis that details the need for urgent support measures for the sector as it faces serious economic disturbance following the end of the Brexit transition period, which is now just 50 days away.
FDI Director Paul Kelly, director, FDI outlined: "Supports are urgently needed not just to save companies within the food and drink sector, but also the jobs, communities, and downstream suppliers reliant on them, including the farming sector and its longer-term sustainability.”
Kelly highlighted that in 2019, over 37% of Irish food and drink exports, valued at €4.5 billion, went to the UK market.
In contrast, other member states typically see less than 10% of their food and drink exports go to the UK market.
"Irish food products account for seven of the ten most exposed country/ food and drink product matches in the EU, with significant additional costs for Irish food and drink companies potentially arising from additional customs procedures, regulatory burdens, and rising transport costs," Kelly noted.
“Along with this, our research shows the sector has a high employment multiplier effect, supporting employment in other diverse sectors within the economy. Over the past decade, the food and drink sector has spent over €120 billion in payroll and purchases in the Irish economy, accounting for 45% of the total of all manufacturing exporters," he said.
€82 billion of this amount was purchases of materials from primary producers and other domestic firms in their supply chain.
Intermediate purchases made by food and drinks producers from the agriculture sector in 2012 made up 85% of the total external product flows from the agricultural sector, the group said.
"This level of purchasing is the main facilitator of farm incomes and investment in the Irish economy. Failure to address the serious economic disturbance that will follow the end of the Brexit transition period would have devastating effects on the wider economy,” Kelly added.
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