Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has expressed concern that the Irish beef industry will be decimated in a no deal Brexit. Deputy Smith made the comments on foot of reports that the UK plan to open their market to South American beef in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Deputy Brendan Smith said: “The UK is Ireland’s largest export destination for agri-food products with exports valued at €5.2 billion in 2017. Our beef industry in particular is hugely reliant on the UK market and 48% of all our beef exports went to the UK in 2017. If in the event of a no deal Brexit the UK opens its doors to South American beef this would be nothing short of a catastrophe for our beef industry and would have a devastating effect on farmers in Cavan-Monaghan and across our island.
“There is 36 days until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU and at this juncture the risk of a no deal Brexit is a very real possibility. If this comes to pass and Irish beef is forced to compete in the UK market against cheaper imports from other countries thousands of jobs will be lost.
“The Irish Agri-food industry has worked very hard to secure its place on the shelves in the UK and rightly has a reputation for good quality, high standard food. Every effort must be made to safeguard this industry and the hundreds of thousands of people employed in it, both directly and indirectly. The Government therefore must ensure that sufficient contingency plans, including a financial aid package, are in place to insulate our beef and agri-food industry in as much as feasibly possible from the fall out of Brexit,” concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.