Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue says it’s extremely important that Ireland’s agri-food trading relationship with the UK is maintained in the aftermath of Britain’s decision to leave the EU.
Long established trade links with the UK have led to a large agri-food export market – accounting for over 40% of total exports.
Deputy McConalogue commented: “The result from Thursday’s referendum is deeply worrying and will present a major threat to farmers right across this island. Recent figures from Teagasc estimate that a Brexit could see a reduction in the value of Irish agri-food exports of up to €800m a year.
“Beef farmers will be particularly affected as over half of the total live cattle trade is to the UK. The decrease in the value of Sterling against the Euro this year has already resulted in a 50% reduction of these exports to the UK. Further fluctuations and instability could further weaken the market.
“The decision to leave will come as a bitter blow to farmers. Most sectors, and dairy in particular, are facing major market volatility and an income crisis that is resulting in produce being sold below the cost of production.
“It is vital that the Government works with our European and UK colleagues to minimise any disruption to existing agri-food trade in future EU discussions so that Irish farming interests are safeguarded,” he added.