Calls for Minister to detail potential EU supports for Irish farmers facing no-deal Brexit
The IFA has called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to bring forward more detail in relation to his comments about EU aid in the event of a hard Brexit.
Minister Creed told the Irish Independent the Irish Government will seek hundreds of millions of euro in special aid from Brussels if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.
Dublin has already alerted the EU Commission that it will be lobbying for emergency aid to cope with the fallout to Irish trade, particularly for the beef, dairy and fishing sectors, Minister Creed said.
IFA President Joe Healy said the Minister's plans to make Irish aid a key agenda item when the EU Farm Council meets in Luxembourg in early April, after the Brexit deadline, is the equivalent of "bolting the door after the horse is gone is too late for farmers. We need a support plan in place long before then. The situation is now urgent”.
He said that while the Minister has finally acknowledged that farmers are ‘losing their shirts’ at current prices, "he needs to get on the pitch now and set out what exactly he will be seeking for Irish farmers".
Joe Healy also said it is imperative that whatever package is introduced will support farmers and that we don’t end up with aid going to factories rather than to farmers.
He said the prospect of ‘no deal’ before the end of March is alarming for all farmers, and especially livestock farmers who are increasingly concerned about prices and exports to our most important export market in the UK.
“If the UK crashes out in March, we are facing a far more serious situation and the potential wipe out of beef production in this country,” he said.
Minister Creed said there is a high level of awareness of Ireland's unique exposure to the UK food market.
"But I think nobody wants to talk about it right now because there is still a hope and expectation that a level of sanity will prevail," Mr Creed said.
The Minister added he is optimistic Ireland will succeed - but given the level of money to be sought this cannot be taken for granted.