Thursday, 27 October 2016
Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions
The Minister has but I am not the one who is shouting the loudest for a Minister for Brexit. I am looking for a full Government response and a full acceptance and understanding of how serious the situation is. In the limited amount of time I have to speak, I will ask specifically about Tipperary where the mushroom industry is the largest, outside of Monaghan. The producers there are being wiped out. They were struggling with the competition from Poland and other countries. Those mushroom producers could not make ends meet or make any reasonable modicum of profit. Some have been completely wiped out. We have lost two already quite close to me in south Tipperary and many more are unable to hold on. Reference was made to recruiting extra staff in the agencies. That will not solve this because when would they be recruited and with what expertise? We need swift and dedicated action to save the very valuable mushroom industry that was built up over the last 25 years, along with the other industries in the agriculture sector. I am not saying that we need just one Minister to deal with it but we need a full, holistic Government response to pay attention to this across many sectors. The budget paid scant regard to Brexit and what might come down the line when and if the UK decides to press the button. The uncertainty is very hard for all sectors, the people who are dealing with farmers in the agri-industry, the machinery producers and other producers. They are all being affected by the negativity, they are threatened with unemployment and above all it is creating stress and trauma in an already very difficult situation. I am very concerned that the Government is not getting it and does not understand how serious the impact will be.