Viewpoint: 'Brexit' would damage Irish beef exports
Published 01/07/2015 | 02:30
There has been much talk of exits in the last few days. With the banks closing their doors on a cash exodus in Greece, the markets are once again set for a turbulent ride with the uncertainty rippling out to all corners of the European Union.
Yet there is an exit closer to home being mulled over that has been signalled as potential direct threat to the standard of living for tens of thousands of Irish farm families.
All of Ireland's key industries would feel the very real economic implications of a British referendum on exiting the EU, or 'Brexit'.
But if you look at the beef trade the figures are stark. Ireland can fulfil it's demand for beef produced here seven times over, so exports are key. Beef exports were worth €2.2m last year, accounting for over a fifth of Ireland's agri-food exports.
Yet the UK remains the single largest export market, accounting for up to 51pc or 270,000 tonnes of beef exports.
It is clear the clock is already ticking down to the key decision, so now is the time to drive other markets for Irish beef or Irish farmers may once again pay the price.
At an Irish Exporters Association meeting on the potential consequences of a 'Brexit', Paul Finnerty, chief executive of the country's largest meat processor, ABP, which employs 2,500 in Ireland and also 5,000 in the UK, warned an exit would have major negative impacts for the beef sector.
Firstly, he warned any move would add a layer of "complexity" to business, which would bring added costs.