Thursday, 27 October 2016
Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions
I am on the record as having said there is no upside to Brexit for the agricultural sector. That continues to be the case, and the more anybody analyses it, the more apparent it becomes. There is a naive simplicity to the suggestion that a Minister for Brexit would solve all of the problems. Indeed, some of those who shouted loudest for that have not made an appointment with the spokesperson for Brexit.
Leaving aside my Department, if one had relations who worked in the UK for a time under the current regulations they can combine their social insurance contributions. Brexit impacts on social welfare, health and education. It is far too big for any one Minister. It is a whole-of-Government issue. That is the level at which it is being dealt with given its significance and importance.
The most difficult job anybody in the Government has is working on a cross-departmental basis and trying to co-ordinate a specific issue. This issue is so big it embraces all sectors of the Irish economy. That why it is being dealt with by the Government and the Department of the Taoiseach.
Agencies are doing good work, in particular in helping smaller food companies. Large companies can hedge and manage better than small companies. It is the job of bodies such as Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland to hold their clients hands and assist them in innovative ways in order to mitigate the worst excesses. It is a very challenging situation and we are providing more resources to the agencies for next year.