Farming casualties if UK leaves the EU without agreement, warns Creed
THE Government is set to pump money into the beef sector to prevent its collapse in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
However, in a stark warning, Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said no amount of money can insulate the sector from the adverse consequences of Brexit.
"Let's be honest about this; there will be casualties, there will be farmers that go out of business," he said.
There are 75,000 specialist beef farmers in the country and 10,000 work in beef processing.
The minister said it is widely acknowledged the agriculture sector is the most exposed to Brexit and he expects the industry to get the lion's share of a €650m support package announced yesterday by the Government for sectors most affected by Brexit.
"If further firepower is needed it will be there," he said, while also highlighting that the Government has received reassurances from the European Commission that it also stands ready to assist the sector.
"All of the indicators and engagement which we've had with [Phil] Hogan as former Agriculture Commissioner [mean] we will be quite hopeful of very significant EU funding to augment what's on the table."
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Mr Creed explained that beef exports to the UK would face tariffs of 37pc, which would very quickly have an impact on the price paid to primary producers.
To mitigate against this, the Government has said an €85m fund would be quickly targeted at farmers impacted by market disturbance.
He said the distribution of the funds would be informed by a recent beef support package released by his department which paid farmers per head of cattle.
However, the minister did not rule out the use of intervening directly through buying beef in the event of a no-deal Brexit.