Louise Hogan: Tariff threat must act as a wake-up call on the wider issues in the beef sector
Confirmation this week that Tesco will not simply replace Irish beef with cheaper South American product in the unlikely event of a 'no deal' Brexit is welcome news for Irish livestock farmers.
The Tesco announcement will give embattled beef farmers a timely boost.
However, last week's events illustrate once again the beef sector's dangerous dependence on the British market, which is worth €1.15bn in annual sales.
Beef shipments to the UK of almost 250,000t last year equated to 57pc of total exports in terms of tonnage, and 52pc in terms of value.
And while the likelihood of Britain crashing out of the EU without a trade deal has diminished somewhat, the political chaos in Westminster means that a messy exit is still a possibility.
Indeed, should Theresa May's package fail to win a House of Commons majority at the third time of asking this week, there is no guarantee that a subsequent motion seeking an extended Brexit delay would attract sufficient support to pass muster.
Then we'd be in trouble.
It is in this context that last week's tariff proposals and the comments from Tesco are interesting. The UK imports close to 440,000t of beef each year. According to last week's plans, a tariff-free quota of 180,000t will be made available. This equates to 40pc of overall imports.