Brexit: ‘Government must immediately take decisive steps to allay farming concerns’

The Irish Government has been called on to immediately take decisive steps to allay the concerns in farming and the agri-food sector about the implications of th UK’s vote to leave the EU.

IFA President Joe Healy, expressed his disappointment at the outcome of the UK referendum.

He said, the outcome of the UK vote has major implications for Irish agriculture and the agri-food sector.

“The Government must give a clear signal that the issues of major importance to this sector, our trading relationship with the UK and Northern Ireland and the EU budget, will be central to the EU-UK negotiations. Minimising uncertainty and setting out a clear strategy on the next steps is a priority.”

“Minimising uncertainty and setting out a clear strategy on the next steps is a priority,” he said.

Uncertainty

An extended period of trade policy uncertainty has been predicted in the face of the Brexit vote, as negotiations will need to take place to determine the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU member states, including Ireland.

It is likely that the UK would leave the EU sometime around 2020, or thereafter, depending on how long it takes to negotiate the complex mechanisms associated with Brexit.

Total Irish agri-food exports were worth close to €11 billion in 2014. The UK is the number one export destination, with agri-food exports in 2014 worth over €4.5 billion.

This makes the UK market more important to the Irish agri-food sector than is the case for other sectors of the Irish economy.

A recent report produced by economists from Teagasc, found that Brexit could mean a reduction in the value of Irish agri-food exports of anything from €150 million (1.5%) to €800 million (7.2%) per annum.

The report concludes that if the UK votes to leave the EU, it will only be possible to make a detailed assessment of the consequences, when the terms of Brexit become clearer.