Farm leaders in the UK said that a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit would be a disaster for farmers in Ireland and the UK and must be avoided.
This is according to IFA President Joe Healy, who spoke to UK farm leaders yesterday ahead of the Brexit vote in the House of Commons.
Speaking after the meeting, Healy said it was time to look to what should happen after the vote, with defeat for the Prime Minister Theresa May being the expected result.
“The prospect of a crash out Brexit is a serious threat, which would be catastrophic for farmers on the two islands and hugely damaging to the interests of consumers. Dicing with a cliff-edge Brexit is madness for everybody,” he said.
“We have grave concerns regarding the dangers of a ‘No Deal’ outcome that would cause massive disruption to the normal trade flows between the two countries, on which farmers greatly depend for their livelihoods.”
An Important Market
Ahead of the meeting yesterday, Healy claimed that Irish farmers have just as much to lose as their UK counterparts in a No Deal scenario.
“Given the scale of what we export to the UK market – 37% of our food products – it would be a seismic shock to our system if we don’t have full access between EU and the UK, while maintaining the value of the UK food market. It’s often overlooked that we import €4 billion of agri-food products from the UK,” he said.
“I believe EU and UK farm leaders have a shared interest in ensuring that the UK, which is an important market for all European farmers, does not pursue policies which will further drive down food prices. Importing food and food ingredients from countries with lower production costs and lower standards will undermine the value of the UK food market for EU and UK farmers.”
Today, Healy is travelling to Brussels for a meeting with EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan, at which he would be looking for firm commitments of Commission support for Irish farmers, who would feel the full force of a ‘No Deal’ scenario.
“It’s time for EU solidarity to be converted into tangible support. Some of our sectors – beef, dairy, mushrooms – will be very badly exposed and will require significant financial assistance,” he added.
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.