Sunday 21 July 2019

No food shortages, but higher prices - Tánaiste

Tánaiste Simon Coveney. Picture: Justin Farrelly
Tánaiste Simon Coveney. Picture: Justin Farrelly

Ralph Riegel

Tánaiste Simon Coveney warned that Ireland is likely to face higher food prices rather than food shortages if the UK crashes out of the EU without a Brexit deal.

Mr Coveney, reacting to a hard-hitting Central Bank report on potential no-deal Brexit fall-out for Ireland, admitted such a scenario would put "enormous strain on the Irish economy" and not just on the UK-reliant food sector.

However, he bluntly warned that the focus by everyone should now remain on London rather than Dublin in the intensive bid to achieve a Brexit deal.

"I think many people are trying to shift the focus away from London on Dublin this week and I don't think we should allow that," he warned.

"Solutions here need to come from where the problem is which is London - not Dublin."

However, the Tánaiste acknowledged that Ireland would face significant economic challenges in the event of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal - including on food prices.

"What I have always said that [is] a no-deal Brexit will put an enormous strain on the Irish economy," he said. "Tariffs apply to food and if it impacts on the value of sterling, well then that is going to impact and puts pressure on the very significant trade between these two islands.

"There is no question about that [but] I don't think there are going to be shortages. Certainly there will be cost implications for that trade.

"A no-deal Brexit will put our economy and systems under strain. People should know that and plan accordingly as indeed the Government is so we will continue to avoid that scenario."

Irish Independent

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