Irish parliament told no-deal Brexit ‘less likely’ to happen
Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister has said that a no-deal Brexit looks “less likely” today than it did a week ago.
Simon Coveney was addressing questions in the Irish parliament about the impact of a crash Brexit on the agricultural industry.
He said: “I want to reassure people that if we do face a no-deal Brexit, which looks less likely today than it did last week, we will be ready to support farm families through what will be a difficult period of change and disruption.
“We do know that Ireland is more exposed and more vulnerable to a no-deal Brexit or the wrong outcome from Brexit.
“We export over a billion (euro)’s worth of beef to the United Kingdom and over a billion (euro)’s worth of diary product.
“We also import billions of euros worth of food and drink from the UK so should that be subject to tariffs in the future and other non-tariff trade barriers, it would be very damaging to the Irish agricultural industry and to Irish farming.”
Speaking during leaders’ questions in the Dail, Independent TD Dr Michael Harty said that Brexit threatens Ireland’s agricultural industry.
“The issues in Brexit have been well identified, but any form of Brexit will have a negative impact whether it is a soft Brexit with a Withdrawal Agreement involving the UK staying within the Single Market and the Customs Union or a hard Brexit where the UK cuts its ties almost completely with the EU,” he added.
“The loss of the UK market is going to be substantial in relation to the beef and diary industry.
“The imposition of tariffs is going to add to that and delays in transport across the UK in relation to the land bridge will have a serious blow to agricultural exports.”
Mr Coveney moved to reassure Irish farming families saying there will be a “significant” support package for farmers to help in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
He added: “Hardly a Cabinet passes without (Agriculture) Minister (Michael) Creed raising these issues and challenges that emerge from Brexit.
“I want to reassure farm families – there’s 130,000 farm families in Ireland – about 100,000 get some farming from beef and about 70,000 will get all of their farming from beef.”