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Monday 22 October 2018

'Out of every ten beef animals produced in Ireland, more than four go into the UK' - Agribusiness leaders preparing for worst Brexit

Hereford cattle belonging to farmer Philip Maguire are seen in Enniskerry, Ireland November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Hereford cattle belonging to farmer Philip Maguire are seen in Enniskerry, Ireland November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Agribusiness leaders have stressed the importance of fighting to maintain the UK market post-Brexit, at a conference on the future of Irish Agriculture today.

However, Kerry Group CEO Eamon Scanlon warned that his company while hoping for the best are preparing for the worst in relation to the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

He was followed by John Horgan MD of Kepak one of Ireland’s largest meat processors who stressed that we should not forget and we should insist on maintaining our existing markets.

“The most important focus we have should be to fight to retain our existing markets.

“In the case of beef out of every ten animals produced in Ireland, nine are exported of which more than four go into the UK,” he highlighted.

Horgan went on to say that we have all ready to say that Kepak has already had to make investments to Brexit proof the business.

He further stressed that Ireland has already felt significant Brexit impact associated with a 15pc devaluation of sterling.

Both men were speaking at The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine major Food Wise conference in Croke Park today. 

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Speaking in advance of the conference, Minister Michael Creed said the theme of our conference is ‘Food Wise – Challenge, Ambition, Opportunity’ – and the conference will hear from a range of speakers on these themes, including the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD; EU Commissioner Phil Hogan; Laura Burke, Director of the EPA; and John Moloney, who led the Food Wise 2025 committee in 2015.

 “There have been some calls for a moderation of the Food Wise ambition in the light of Brexit” Minister Creed commented.   “However, I believe this is no time to step back. The targets set for 2020 in the previous iteration of our current agri-food strategy, are on course to be achieved well ahead of schedule, and they too appeared optimistic at the time.”

“Of course, while pursuing growth opportunities, we must recognise the challenges, including the very real environmental challenges, facing the sector and take positive steps to deal with them.

I hope that today will inspire all involved in the sector – farmers, processors and Government - to re-double our shared commitment to achieving the Food Wise 2025 vision for the sustainable growth of the sector.”

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