Fianna Fáil TD Jackie Cahill raised his concerns with Taoiseach Micheál Martin today (Thursday, December 10) in relation to Ireland facing significant tariffs in the event of a no deal.

The agricultural sector is set to be hit hardest, with 90% of the €1.6 billion in tariffs faced by this sector alone, which is a key concern for deputy Cahill.

The Joint Committee on Agriculture and the Marine, which deputy Cahill chairs, met recently with a number of representative bodies from the sector, and is set to do so again next week.

I spoke with the Taoiseach before 8:00am this morning, ahead of the European Council summit, and I highlighted to him that the threat of a no-deal Brexit is looming larger, as 90% of the €1.6 billion in tariffs in the event of a no deal will be directed at the agricultural industry.

Recently, deputy Cahill chaired a meeting of the Oireachtas agricultural committee, which was attended by representatives of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA); the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA); the Irish Co-Operative Organisation Society (ICOS); Dairy Industry Ireland (DII); and Meat Industry Ireland (MII).

“These groups raised strong and relevant questions in the committee in relation to a no-deal Brexit and I shared these directly with the Taoiseach this morning ahead of his meeting in Brussels,” the deputy added.

‘Growing concern in the industry’

Next week, other stakeholders will be appearing before the committee, including the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA); the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA); Bord Bia; and the Irish Grain and Feed Association (IGFA) – for further hearings on Brexit, ahead of the December 31 deadline.

There is growing concern in the industry about the impact of a no-deal Brexit. It is rapidly becoming a reality and all efforts need to be made to ensure that this does not happen.

“The agricultural sector cannot afford to take this enormous hit, nor can the Irish economy.

“Rural Ireland will be very badly hit in the event of Ireland having to trade with the UK under WTO [World Trade Organization] conditions and tariffs.

“I will ensure to keep in regular contact with the Taoiseach to highlight these extremely important issues,” Cahill concluded.