EU Commission will back Irish beef farmers in no-deal Brexit – Coveney

Ireland’s deputy premier has said the EU Commission will back the Irish beef industry in the event of a no-deal Brexit resulting in an agri-food trade war.

Simon Coveney told the Dail that both the EU Commission and the EU-27 recognised the vulnerability of Irish beef farmers.

Mr Coveney said: “The EU Commission has made it very clear that they will support us in ensuring that we can, if it comes to it, support and protect the sector to make sure it survives through a Brexit transition period.

“But we are of course all working to ensure that no-deal Brexit does not happen.”

The Tanaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister made the comments after the deputy leader of the opposition raised reports that the UK may introduce significant tariffs in a no-deal scenario that would see Brazilian beef favoured over Irish beef.

During Leaders’ Questions Fianna Fail’s Dara Calleary said the beef sector was under enormous pressure and that beef farmers were “hugely angry and frustrated” over Government inaction.

About half of all of Ireland’s more than 52 billion euro (£45 billion) beef exports go to the UK.

Mr Coveney said: “We have always approached Brexit by a necessity having to adapt to decisions that are being made in Wesminster and that’s what we will continue to have to do.

“But we have a close and ongoing cooperation and discussion and partnership with other EU member states and the Commission who recognise the unique vulnerability of Ireland, particularly in the beef space but in agri-food generally.”

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