‘Farming will have substantial call’ on €1 billion Brexit funding

The announcement that Ireland will receive over €1 billion, or 25%, from the EU Brexit fund in 2021 is clear recognition that we are most exposed to the fallout from Brexit, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney confirmed the funding at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the North Tipperary County Executive last night (Tuesday, January 12).

Commenting, IFA president Tim Cullinan said when it comes to allocating the funding, the impact on the agri-food sector will have to be central to any decisions.

“We will be making a strong case for funding to go directly to farmers who will take the brunt of any fallout from currency fluctuations and trade and logistical issues that will arise once the deal reached before Christmas works its way through the system,” he said.

We have real concerns about how non-tariff barriers will impact on our ability to keep trade flows moving. Green lanes have been implemented previously for food exports.

“These must be prioritised to allow us to reach our markets,” he said.

Cullinan also said the longer-term implication for our food exports could be the flooding of the UK market by cheap imports.

“Farmers here on the island of Ireland and in the UK are steadfast in their view of standards,” he said.

“We know the UK agenda is to offer access to their food market to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and the Mercosur countries of South America in exchange for trade deals with those countries.

If that happens, then the value of the UK market for Irish food exports will be cut and Irish farmers will suffer huge income losses, with knock-on effects on EU markets.

“The level playing field provisions built into this deal by the EU must stop any race to the bottom,” Cullinan concluded.