Coveney: ‘Significant’ amounts to be put toward Brexit supports

Simon Coveney, Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, has said that “significant amounts of money” will be put toward supporting the beef sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking in the Dail today (Thursday, February 21), Minister Coveney added that state aid rules would be relaxed in order to allow the Government to tackle the potential damage to the sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“This Government will not be found wanting in supporting and working with this sector through a very difficult period, should a no-deal Brexit materialise,” he said.

That would involve significant amounts of money and also a relaxation of the state aid rules that allows us to support vulnerable sectors through the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

The Tanaiste was responding to a question from Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary, who raised the issue of tariffs on Irish goods entering the UK.

Earlier this week, Michael Gove – the UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – seemed to confirm that his country would not have a ‘zero tariff’ situation after Brexit – meaning that there would be tariffs of some kind on Irish goods entering the UK.

Coveney responded to this by saying: “We have heard different rumours coming out of the UK at different stages.”

Minister Coveney also said that the EU understands the assistance Ireland needs, and that it is ready to support the agri-food sector here.

“We have been speaking to the European Commission and the commissioner Phil Hogan very directly. The commission has made it clear it will support us to ensure we can protect the sector, so it can survive through a Brexit transition period,” he added.