How is the Government prepared for Brexit when Bord Bia has only employed an extra four staff into Brexit team?
Fianna Fail North Cork TD Michael Moynihan told the Dail that the agri-food sector is very exposed to the effects of Brexit and asked the Minister for Education Richard Bruton to explain what the Government was doing to help the sector.
Bruton said the Government has entered into very long preparations for Brexit, with Article 50 triggered yesterday, and that it has carried out Strengths; Weaknesses; Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis which showed that there are both threats and opportunities for Ireland.
The Minister went on to say that the Government had revised its trade and jobs strategy in light of the Brexit vote.
However, Moynihan said he doubted that the agri-food industry would take "much solace" from what Bruton said and that initial talk from the UK is that it is looking to trade deals with other countries on food, countries which, he said, had question marks over their quality standards of late.
"We have seen in recent days the quality of food in some of these countries leaves a lot to be desired."
Moynihan also questioned the Government's strengthening of Brexit plans if Bord Bia had only four key extra officials in place, in light of Brexit.
"If that is strengthening the agencies on behalf of the agri-food industry, well heaven help us."
Bruton, in response, said that there were more agencies available to help the agri-food sector than Bord Bia, including Enterprise Ireland.