Beef Plan Group calls on minister to explain hard Brexit plans

The Beef Plan Group is calling on Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to explain whether or not he has a plan in place for a hard Brexit.

The group has called on Minister Creed to co-operate with his European partners to ensure that a “strong support mechanism” is put in place in case beef trade with Britain is damaged after a hard Brexit – a scenario that looks increasingly likely.

Currently, 52% of Irish beef exports, or about 20,000 cattle per week, go across the water to Britain.

In a statement to AgriLand, the group predicts that a loss of trade with the UK could potentially cost farmers here “hundreds of millions” of euro.

“If this market is lost two things will happen: one, we will flood the European beef market, and two, the European beef market will possibly implode,” said a spokesperson for the group.

“Irish beef farmers will lose hundreds of millions,” if this happens, warns the group.

Minister Creed needs to contact Europe and insist that some sort of strong support mechanism be introduced to support the Irish beef industry while we are looking for new markets.

The spokesperson also said that the group had been in contact with Fine Gael’s Mairead McGuinness, First Vice-President of the European Parliament, who had said a number of weeks ago “to the best of her knowledge, no plan B had been considered”.

“These are difficult times and we will need good planning and leadership if we are to minimise the damage caused by a hard Brexit,” concluded the group’s spokesperson.