Senator Maura Hopkins has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Michael Creed TD to address the Seanad on the implications of Brexit for the Irish Agri-Food Industry.
Speaking in the Seanad yesterday, Senator Hopkins stated that “the UK is our single biggest trading partner and that our Agri businesses will be most affected by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union”.
According to the Central Statistics Office €5.1 billion in farm produce was exported from Ireland to Britain in 2015. A recent Teagasc survey has suggested that this could drop by up to 8% or €800 million in the wake of Brexit.
Senator Hopkins raised three main concerns for the sector in the aftermath of last week’s vote. Firstly, she stated “that the value of the Pound Sterling has fallen to a 31 year low in recent days, this has the potential for an immediate negative impact on Irish producers as it will result in reduced buying power and associated lower prices.”
She also highlighted the potential implementation of trade barriers and tariffs between Ireland and the UK once it leaves the European Union. “We must ensure any potential tariffs and barriers take into account that we have a close trading relationship with the UK. As we are in new territory given the impending departure of the UK the agricultural budget for the next common agricultural policy is likely to be reduced. It is extremely important that strong negotiations take place to ensure that the fund is financed to minimise the impact”.
Senator Maura Hopkins concluded by saying, “In light of the current uncertainty and price volatility associated with the impending departure of the U.K. from the Europe Union it is vitally important that we work hard in the interests of our farm families, in order to ensure they receive the funding and support necessary to sustain their businesses and continue to support our rural economies.”