Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Simon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
First of all, this Parliament will meet if it has to in order to respond to political decisions debated and made in Westminster. That is what we will need to do. Even today a team from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is meeting with the European Commission on these issues. There have been many meetings and discussions in recent weeks and months on how we can collectively respond to the challenges of a no-deal Brexit. We have more information on how the UK proposes to unilaterally respond after 29 March if it should crash out without a deal. We are studying that. The tariffs the UK is proposing are being looked at in a lot of detail with regard to impact. Undoubtedly, any tariff imposed on agricultural products moving between the UK and Ireland will be very damaging. As a Government, we will need to respond to that appropriately and we will do so. The Deputy certainly does not need to impress on me the importance of this issue or the vulnerability of the agrifood or farming sector, particularly in the beef, pigmeat and dairy markets. We are factoring that in, and we will have a detailed response to that, appropriate to the scale of the challenge. At the start of this week the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, outlined the financial considerations he will have to factor in should that be necessary. That is the point we are at. We will share those details with the House as they emerge.