Farm Ireland
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Monday 18 February 2019

Fianna Fail demands clarity for farmers on hard Brexit plans - Creed says no such clarity exists

'Far more time hoping for the best than preparing for what might happen' - FF

Driving force: Traffic crosses the Border into Northern Ireland from the Irish Republic at Co Armagh. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Driving force: Traffic crosses the Border into Northern Ireland from the Irish Republic at Co Armagh. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Fianna Fail has demanded clarity in the coming days from the Government on what preparations are being made and what farmers can expect in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Fianna Fail's Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue said that as things stand, businesses do not know what the arrangements will be in six weeks' time.

"They are being left to try to prepare as best they can but without clarity from the Minister or his Department in regard to the financial supports that might be available.

"In the beef sector, for example, €750m worth of tariffs could potentially be placed on our beef exports to the UK, which would amount to, on average, €400 of tariffs per animal. That is a scary vista for the agri-food sector," he said.

"Unfortunately, it seems that although the national message has been that we must prepare for the worst but hope for the best, the approach of the Government over the past two years has been to spend far more time hoping for the best than preparing for what might happen in six weeks' time."

He claimed that there has been minimal engagement by the Government with the agri-food sector in terms of giving any clarity on what to expect in six weeks' time in the event of a hard Brexit.

Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed hit back saying the accusation that there has been no engagement with the industry is entirely wrong.

"There has been extensive and ongoing engagement and consultation on an almost daily basis with various aspects of the industry.

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"The Deputy is seeking clarity in respect of what the impact will be but, unfortunately, no such clarity exists.

"It entirely depends on how the UK responds when it leaves the EU.

"We have prepared insofar as we can for all eventualities, including action on exceptional aid measures, State aid flexibility etc," he said.

On contingency planning and preparedness, Minister Creed said if the UK leaves without a deal we will be in a position to meet all our obligations in terms of treating the UK as a third country and how we deal with imports from there.

"One must bear in mind that we are the biggest trading partner of the UK agri-food industry.

"All of the staffing arrangements needed to meet our obligations in regard to the necessary portal inspections for agri-food products, animal products and by-products of plant and animal origin, including portal inspectors, veterinary supervision and so on, will be in place by the required date at the aforementioned locations of Rosslare, Dublin Port and Dublin Airport," he said.

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