IRELAND, Dublin. Speaking after a meeting with UK farm leaders in London ahead of the crucial vote on Brexit in the House of Commons, IFA President Joe Healy said the clear view of farm leaders was that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a disaster for farmers in Ireland and the UK and must be avoided.
Healy said it was time to look to what should happen after the vote, which resulted in a defeat for the Prime Minister Theresa May. “The prospect of a crash out Brexit is a serious threat, which would be catastrophic for farmers on the two islands and hugely damaging to the interests of consumers. Dicing with a cliff-edge Brexit is madness for everybody,” he warned.
He said he would be travelling to Brussels for a meeting with EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan, at which he would be looking for firm commitments of Commission support for Irish farmers, who would feel the full force of a ‘no deal’ scenario.
He said, “It’s time for EU solidarity to be converted into tangible support. Some of our sectors – beef, dairy, mushrooms – will be very badly exposed and will require significant financial assistance”.
He further explained that the Irish & UK food supply chains are deeply integrated: “We have grave concerns regarding the dangers of a ‘no deal’ outcome that would cause massive disruption to the normal trade flows between the two countries, on which farmers greatly depend for their livelihoods.”