Europe ‘can’t be held hostage’ by Brexit – McGuinness

Europe can’t be held hostage by the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the EU needs to get on with its business, Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness has said.

Speaking at AIB’s Shed Talks at the Ploughing, she said that the uncertainty that comes with Brexit is deepening.

However, until the UK invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, negotiations on trade cannot begin and McGuinness said that until that time the UK will still have to import food from us.

“UK farmers will not dilute their standards, they won’t find standards that are equal to Ireland’s standards globally.”

Also speaking on Brexit at the Shed Talk was ICMSA President John Comer, who said that Ireland is the most exposed Member State of the EU as a result of the Brexit decision.

What suits the EU and the UK might not necessarily be good for Ireland. We can’t negotiate a deal as Ireland, we’re in the EU.

He said that those working in the EU understand how exposed Ireland is and that he doesn’t think this is currently being done adequately.

Farmers need to know that there’ll be no impediment to farmers from the fallout of the UK’s decision, he said.

Impact of Brexit of farmers investing

AIB Agri Advisor Donal Whelton said that year-to-date there has been a slowdown in investments however that agri lendings in the first half of the year were up on the same period as 2015.

He said that there are a range of factors aside from Brexit, including the weather and prices, that are having an impact on investment.

Whelton said that he is surprised by the improved mood from farmers at the moment given low prices, but that recent milk price increases has helped farmer sentiment.

While it’s important to say that Ireland has a long trading history with the UK, Brexit means Brexit, he said.