The Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) president, Joe Healy, has today, Tuesday, September 17, welcomed the support of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), Minette Batters.

Speaking on the opening day of ‘Ploughing 2019’, Healy said: “Minette Batters is here today to stand with Irish farmers against the dangers of a no-deal Brexit.

“Today’s report from the Central Bank is a very stark reminder of the devastation that a hard Brexit would cause at farm level.”

Yesterday, Healy met with the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) president, Ivor Ferguson, and the NFU president on the farm of Owen Martin in Newry, Co. Down.

“We are fast approaching the risk of a no-deal, cliff edge Brexit on October 31, that would be catastrophic for farmers across the island of Ireland and in mainland UK.

“We are clear that Brexit can only go ahead on the basis of a withdrawal agreement and a transition period, that would provide for a standstill in trading relations, avoiding a hard border in Ireland and maintaining the existing close and interdependent trading relationships that currently exist between the EU and the UK.

As regards current discussions on alternative arrangements to the backstop, full regulatory and customs alignment is necessary to avoid a hard border in Ireland and to protect the integrity of the single market.

Healy said: “It is clear that Irish and UK farmers are absolutely united in the desire to avoid a no deal and a hard border.

“The IFA has set out clearly in our pre-budget submission what is needed to prevent the sector from Armageddon.

We are 44 days out from a potential no-deal Brexit, and the EU and the Government must commit to IFA’s package of measures, and support Ireland’s farmers.

“The recent collapse of sterling has already hit cattle prices. We are down 40c/kg or over €150/head on this time last year, when prices had already been decimated.”

Concluding, Healy warned: “If we don’t have an EU support package in place and the UK crashes out in October, we are facing the potential wipe-out of beef production in this country.”