Ireland to seek EU agri-aid in the event of no-deal Brexit

Michael Creed, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will ask the European Union for aid to protect the agriculture sector here from the fallout of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking to AgriLand, a spokesperson for the minister said that the plan to request aid is still in a preliminary stage, but is necessary for the “large-scale impact” and “inevitable damage” to Irish agriculture if the UK leaves the EU without a trade deal.

37% of our produce goes to the UK, and almost 50% of our beef. Our dairy sector is also heavily reliant on this trade, especially our cheddar cheese industry. We would be facing a large-scale impact in the event of a no-deal Brexit. It’s quite obvious that it will have a serious effect.

“If tariffs are put in place, or if it’s the case that there are no tariffs, therefore opening the UK market to third countries [countries outside the EU], that will cause inevitable damage,” said Minister Creed’s spokesperson.

He added that the minister’s plans are still developing on this matter, and were dependent on a no-deal Brexit actually happening.

The spokesperson went on to say that the department remains hopeful that a deal will be agreed and accepted before the March 29 deadline, when Britain is due to leave the EU under Article 50.

This is still very preliminary, and is predicated on a no-deal scenario. We are hopeful that this scenario will not present itself. Should it, it would be very serious.

Concluding, the spokesperson said that the issue of economic aid to offset the fallout of Brexit is “a conversation that will be happening throughout the European Union”.

Brexit Agreement

In Britain itself, the withdrawal agreement negotiated between Theresa May’s Government and the European Union is scheduled to be voted on during the week of January 14.

The vote was initially supposed to take place in December, but May postponed it after several members of parliament, including many in her own party, as well as her coalition partners the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), indicated they would vote against the deal.

It remains unclear if the deal will be accepted this time around, with a defeat making a no-deal Brexit more likely.