Speaking in Brussels the day after St. Patrick’s Day, Michael Creed TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, said: “Today’s Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting was an important opportunity to highlight to the Council, the Commission and to my fellow Ministers, the impacts of a no-Deal Brexit on the agri-food sector in Ireland and with potential knock-on effects across the EU market as a whole.”
Under an AOB item on meat markets, Minister Creed outlined the exposure of the Irish beef sector in particular; and called for the full suite of measures available under the Common Market Organisation, including targeted support for farmers, to be deployed rapidly in the event of a no-Deal Brexit. He also referred to the need to protect the EU beef sector in trade discussions with Mercosur, against the background of the significant uncertainty arising from Brexit.
On fisheries, he highlighted the exposure of the Irish fisheries sector, and the need for careful joint EU management of fisheries resources, as well as financial supports for fishermen and their communities.
Meeting the new UK Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Robert Goodwill MP: Minister Creed reiterated the importance of the UK ratifying the Withdrawal Agreement to avoid the prospect of a no-Deal Brexit.
Minister Creed concluded: “I am heartened by the solidarity displayed around the Council table today in relation to the threat posed by a no-Deal Brexit. We all hope that this matter will be resolved in a sensible way in the coming days.”
“We are all aware of the events unfolding in Westminster this week. Our hope is that the deal agreed between the EU and the UK Government can be approved by our friends and neighbours in the UK Parliament, but the outcome is out of our hands.
An outcome which results in a disorderly Brexit, will have a profoundly negative effect on both the Irish and the UK economies. The Irish agri food sector will be uniquely affected, with beef particularly exposed. The impact is likely to be immediate, and without support, at least in the short term, many of our beef farmers will struggle to survive.
The full suite of measures under the Common Market Organisation Regulation will be required, including the more traditional market support measures, and the exceptional measures provided for under the 2013 reform, in order to provide a targeted measure to provide vital liquidity on family farms facing an unprecedented challenge.
There will also be a potentially dramatic impact on our fisheries sectors, and member states and the Commission will be required to work together to manage a potentially diminished resource and provide financial support fishermen and their communities.
Ireland faces the future with confidence, as a committed member of a Union of Sovereign States, that have shown extraordinary solidarity in the face of a significant and disruptive challenge.”