‘Government must still allocate Brexit funding despite deal’ – IFA

The Brexit deal that has been reached in Brussels between the UK and the EU has been “cautiously welcomed” by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) – though the association is calling on the Government to allocate Brexit funding for farming nonetheless.

IFA president Joe Healy stressed that the “real test” will be on Saturday when the proposed deal comes before the House of Commons in London.

“On the limited information available, the deal appears to address the very deep concerns about creating a hard border on the island of Ireland. For these reasons, we would hope that this deal will be approved by the UK Parliament,” Healy said.

However, Healy highlighted that, even if a deal is ratified, Brexit will still bring “huge challenges” for the agriculture sector.

“Ireland and the UK joined the EU together in 1973, and today’s agreement is a stepping stone towards a moment in history which will bring massive challenges for Irish farming,” Healy warned.

“The impact has already been felt in the volatility of sterling and the uncertainty in agricultural markets which has hit beef farmers particularly hard,” he added.

I am therefore calling on the Government to allocate immediately the agricultural funding they set aside for Brexit to assist beef farmers who have suffered grave losses since May 12 this year and are in dire straits, due to political factors totally outside their control.

He continued: “While this deal may provide some level of certainty as we head into a standstill transition phase, there is a very difficult negotiation ahead on the future trading relationship between the UK and EU, where no country has more at stake than Ireland.”

The IFA president concluded: “Incoming EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan will play a vital role in these negotiations.”