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Irish food exports at risk as borders close across the continent

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The dairy industry here has been working with its counterparts in Northern Ireland and across the EU

The dairy industry here has been working with its counterparts in Northern Ireland and across the EU

The dairy industry here has been working with its counterparts in Northern Ireland and across the EU

There are growing concerns in the Irish agri-food sector about the impact EU border restrictions to halt the spread of Covid-19 will have on our food exports.

EU countries have tightened frontier controls across the normally open-border Schengen zone which includes most member states as well as non-members Switzerland and Norway.

However, the EU Commission said suspending freedom of movement for people, goods and services risked a rise in panic buying and could further aggravate the economic impact of the coronavirus.

"In order to avoid shortages and a worsening of the social and economic difficulties that all European countries are already experiencing, maintaining the functioning of the Single Market is key," the Commission said.

Dairy Industry Ireland director Conor Mulvihill said that while it is vital that we continue to supply the Irish domestic market, it is also important to remember that Ireland exports over 90pc of its dairy - the bulk of it to EU markets.

"It is hugely important from a public health and nutrition, as well as an economic perspective for Ireland Inc, that we keep these supply chains moving," he said.

The dairy industry here has been working with its counterparts in Northern Ireland and across the EU to guarantee a frictionless continuity of milk collection operations across Ireland and the European Union, including across borders.

"We are also working to ensure all supply lines are kept open to manage product flows to ensure the industry can keep the shelves and fridges stocked across the Union," added Mr Mulvihill.

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