Ireland to get over €1 billion from EU’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve

Ireland is to get €1.05 billion under the EU’s Brexit Adjustment Reserve – which amounts to 25% of the fund that will be available this year, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has confirmed.

Speaking at the North Tipperary Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) county executive annual general meeting this evening (Tuesday, January 12), the minister revealed that the news had just come through from Europe.

The minister attended the virtual IFA AGM after being asked by local Tipperary Senator Garret Ahearn and North Tipperary IFA chairwoman Imelda Walsh.

Minister Coveney stated that the reserve will have €5.4 billion in funding overall, €4.2 billion of which will be available this year. The funding allocated to Irish agriculture will now be “a matter for government”, he added.

Commenting tonight, the minister said:

“The Brexit Adjustment Reserve is going to be worth €5.4 billion in total between now and 2024. There is going to be €4.2 billion made available this year in 2021.

“Of that, Ireland is getting just over €1 billion – we’re getting 25% of the fund – one country of 27 – less than 3% of the EU population.

Ireland is the country that is disrupted by far the most by Brexit and we have been lobbying hard for this outcome. We were looking to get over €1 billion of €5 billion – and what we have got is over €1 billion of the initial €4 billion, which is a good outcome.

“That has to be now supported by the European Parliament and Council and I suspect there will be other countries trying to lay claim on that money – but that’s the initial proposal by the European Commission which is good news.

“At least we have a pot of money now, worth over €1 billion – about €100 million of that will certainly be allocated for fishing I suspect in the commission decision but there will I think be a substantial amount of money available that the government will need to debate and discuss how we access that,” Minister Coveney added.

“Because any money we access has to be fully justified in terms of actual cost. It can’t be pretend expenditure.

Commenting on the potential allocation for Irish agriculture, the minister said:

That is now a matter for government; what the government will need to do, if this gets approved in terms of these initial proposed allocations.

What’s happened is we would have been lobbying the commission for a number of months to make the case that Ireland is by far the most impacted country by Brexit; therefore we should get more money in this fund than any other country.

“Not only have we got more money, we’ve got substantially more money I suspect than the country that has the second highest allocation. Now it’s up to us to justify that money by putting a package together which certainly all isn’t going to be allocated to agriculture or fishing, but both agriculture and the agri-food industry will certainly be part of that plan I suspect.

“But it’s something that Tim and his team will need to seek a meeting with Minister McConalogue on, to try and make sure that the case is made for supports for agriculture, farming and farm families in particular – but I suspect he won’t be shy to do that.

I don’t want to prescribe how it’s going to be spent – my job was to try and maximise the amount of money available, and obviously I will be involved in the debate around the cabinet table in terms of how it’s spent, but I would be surprised if farming and agriculture – and the agri industry as a whole – wasn’t part of that allocation.

As revealed last month, under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve, the funding will be directed towards supporting business and employment in the affected sectors; assisting regions and local communities; and assisting public administration for border, customs, sanitary and phytosanitary controls.

According to the commission, the reserve will cover expenditure in any member state for a period of 30 months, and will be distributed in two rounds.