'We will bail out beef industry in no-deal Brexit,' vows Taoiseach


Stock image: PA
Stock image: PA
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the Government must bail out the beef industry, which is likely to be devastated in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking in the Dáil yesterday, Mr Varadkar said the overriding concern of everyone in the beef industry is what is going to happen in the next couple of weeks with regard to Brexit.

"I want beef farmers and the beef industry to know we have their back.

"We are working to secure a deal that provides a transition period so there is no change to the rules of trade until at least 2020.

"I believe that will restore confidence to the industry and allow prices to rise again.

"In the event that we don't have a deal we are working very closely with the European Commission to put in place financial supports that will be necessary to bail out the industry," he said.

The Taoiseach said this is something we will have to do to defend incomes and jobs.

However, on the current slump in beef prices, he said the Government does not control the beef factories or the price of any commodity.

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Agriculture Minister Michael Creed told the Irish Independent in January that if, and when, a hard Brexit becomes a reality, Ireland will be making a case for major grant aid.

"You're looking at hundreds of millions here. Between the beef industry and the fishing industry we're talking mega-money," he said.

Meanwhile, Britain's government has reached a general agreement on import tariffs if it leaves the European Union without a deal, Trade Secretary Liam Fox said yesterday.

However the Business Secretary Greg Clark warned that tough choices still remained.

British media reported earlier this week that the government was planning to slash tariffs on 80-90pc of goods if it left with no deal, which would benefit consumers but damage the competitiveness of many British factories and farms.

Speaking to MPs yesterday, Mr Fox said senior ministers had reached an outline agreement but that it was too soon to make details public.

"It is always possible that there could be further changes, but there has been a basic agreement," he told a parliamentary committee.

Irish Independent

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