EU 'should allow exceptional state aid for Ireland's agri-food sector'
The European Commission should allow exceptional state aid support for the Irish agri-food sector to help mitigate the fallout should a 'hard' Brexit occur, a lobby group has said.
Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII) said the increased likelihood Britain could pull out of the single market and customs union demands a series of exceptions from EU state aid rules.
More than 40pc of Ireland's food and drink exports go to the UK, worth around €4.4bn. About 80pc of food and drink manufacturing is outside of Dublin.
FDII director Paul Kelly said the Irish agri-food and drink sector was "uniquely exposed".
"There is a compelling case for exceptional state aid support to minimise the economic fallout and job losses," Mr Kelly said.
"Already the currency squeeze is putting intense strain on exporters. This is likely to intensify as the challenges and economic costs of a 'hard' Brexit crystalise."
The lobby group said Irish food and drink exports are more exposed to the UK than any other European sector.