Irish farming most exposed sector if British vote 'Leave'
Downing on politics
On Thursday week we will know if Britain is going to stay or leave the European Union.
And if Britain decides to go - Irish farming will be the first in the firing line.
It is hard to think of any other sector across the 28 member states which would be left more exposed. Discussions in the Dáil last week had an air of gloom.
Labour's redoubtable Willie Penrose was posing the questions and new Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, did not dodge or try to downplay the implications for Ireland's agribusiness.
"There is no absolutely no upside for this economy from a Brexit," the Minister said twice during the exchanges.
The campaign has been bewildering for the middle-of-the-road British voter. Zealots on both sides conjured up apocalyptic images of the implications of staying or leaving.
The short answer to most conjectures is that we really do not know. The nearest to a precedent is the eventual departure of Greenland in 1985 after they had voted in a 1979 referendum to quit.
Greenland, with just over 56,000 people, it is comparable to County Monaghan or Waterford City. Britain has 64 million people and is the world's fifth largest economy. They are also hefty net contributors to the EU budget with a contribution of Stg£13m last year.