IFA President Tim Cullinan has said that the Government Brexit fund for Irish farming must be ready to go on January 1st.
“Brexit contingency funding was set aside in the last two Budgets. It is reported that the Minister for Agriculture is now mobilising €400 million of this to support farmers. When put in the context of a no deal Brexit that would cost the agri-food sector €1.5bn annually in tariffs alone – this fund won’t go far if we have a no deal,” he said.
“Recently, IFA was invited to address the European Parliament’s Agricultural Committee and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture on IFA’s Brexit Emergency Plan. It was clear that there is a good understanding of how severely Irish farming will be hit by Brexit.
“We must also ensure that Irish farmers are first in line for the €5bn EU Brexit fund.
“We are still hopeful of a Brexit deal, but even if that happens, there will be non-tariff costs and a risk that Irish product will be undercut by cheap imports to the UK from outside the EU. Irish farmers are already feeling the effects of currency fluctuations. It is clear that immediate support is needed, and needed fast,” he said.
Even in the event of a trade deal, Irish farmers in vulnerable sectors such as livestock will require meaningful long-term structural adjustment support from the EU €5bn Brexit Adjustment Fund, the IFA President stressed.
“We are also having regular meetings with the Ulster Farmers Union and the National Farmers Union in the UK. It is clear that farmers in the EU and the UK all want a deal, but we also need the Government and the EU to be ready with support,” he concluded.