‘We need to ramp-up preparations for a worst-case Brexit’ – INHFA

It has been stressed that while farmers “should always continue to hope for the best”, calls to “ramp up” preparations for a worst-case scenario are amplifying.

The national president of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA), Colm O’Donnell, made the remarks following developments at Westminster this week.

He is of the view that the possibility of the UK crashing out of the European Union without a deal has “significantly increased”.

O’Donnell continued: “Our Government needs to outline what support measures they are putting in place for the farming industry and in particular what direct-support measures they are willing to put in place to support farmers, especially those in the suckler and beef sectors.

At European level, there has been a clear recognition of the vulnerable position that Ireland is in, and an acceptance that support will be needed.

However, the INHFA president stressed that the farming sector has “already experienced the effects of Brexit which has been illustrated through a major crash in beef price with the concern that this could deepen”.

“With this in mind, it is now time for Europe to show solidarity with us and come forward with a financial package to assist us and in particular our farmers who need a level of certainty to plan a way forward.”

Concluding, O’Donnell stressed the importance of having a plan in place to ensure that farmers and rural Ireland can survive.

“Irrespective of what Brexit we get, or when it happens; farmers and rural Ireland will take a major hit which is why we need a plan and a package in place to help soften it.”