Wednesday, 6 February 2019
Ceisteanna - Questions - Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions
Most of the Minister's response to my question is old news in the sense that it is the same response we have been getting for two years, particularly with regard to market diversification and the loan schemes that have been put in place but which, in many ways, have not been delivered up until now. The response does not give any sense of the urgency associated with the fact that we are six weeks away from a potential hard Brexit or set out the measures being taken to ensure that the agrifood and farming sectors are protected in the event of a hard Brexit. As things stand, businesses do not know what the arrangements will be in six weeks' time. They are being left to try to prepare as best they can but without clarity from the Minister or his Department in regard to the financial supports that might be available. In the beef sector, for example, €750 million worth of tariffs could potentially be placed on our beef exports to the UK, which would amount to, on average, €400 of tariffs per animal. That is a scary vista for the agrifood sector. We need clarity from the Minister on what preparations are being made and what we can expect in six weeks if no deal is reached in the interim period.