Plans for Agri-food tariffs disastrous for sector

-Tariffs are planned for products being exported from the Republic to the UK-

Wicklow Fianna Fáil TD, Pat Casey has responded to the plans to introduce new arrangements for the border and to impose tariffs on products being exported from
the Republic to the United Kingdom.

Deputy Casey commented, “This plan will have massive ramifications on Wicklow’s Agri-food sector if allowed to be introduced. I agree with the President of the IFA
when he described the plans as “absolutely disastrous”.

“I sincerely hope that this is a provocative attempt to persuade MPs to vote against a no deal scenario and for an extension when they are asked again over the coming
hours and days in Westminster.

“The EU will obviously have to respond to the plans to allow goods to travel freely between the Republic and Northern Ireland in the short term and the Irish government will have to elaborate on their own plans to respond to this plan. The uncertainty is causing massive anxiety with businesses both North and South and will cost jobs in Wicklow soon if not sorted out.

“The Taoiseach stated last week that Ireland is the most prepared country in Europe when it comes to Brexit. He also promised to give us the latest figures for the levels
of preparedness amongst business which go beyond the number of inquiries made.

“The government needs to publish these figures and needs to outline immediately the full details on levels of preparedness.”

“We were previously told that the government has studied in detail the implications of different scenarios.  The government should, without delay, publish the likely impact
of these new tariffs and put a plan in place to respond.”

Deputy Casey continued: “The UK is Ireland’s largest export destination for agri-food products with exports valued at €5.2 billion in 2017. Our beef industry in particular is
hugely reliant on the UK market and 48% of all our beef exports went to the UK in 2017.

If in the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK opens its doors to South American beef this would be nothing short of a catastrophe for our beef industry in Wicklow and would have a devastating effect on farmers the length and breadth of our
county.

“There are only 15 days until the UK is scheduled to leave the EU and at this juncture the risk of a no deal Brexit is a very real possibility. If this comes to pass and Irish beef is forced to compete in the UK market against cheaper imports from other countries thousands of jobs in Wicklow will be lost.

“The Irish Agri-food industry has worked very hard to secure its place on the shelves in the UK and rightly has a reputation for good quality, high standard food. Every effort must be made to safeguard this industry and the thousands of people employed in it, both directly and indirectly. The Government therefore must ensure that sufficient contingency plans, including a financial aid package, are in place to insulate our beef and agri-food industry as much as feasibly possible from the fall out of Brexit,” concluded Deputy Casey.

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