30 March 2017

Labour Party spokesperson on Agriculture, Willie Penrose, has called on the Government to bring in comprehensive safeguards to protect the agri-food sector and the future of the Common Agricultural Policy.

“The €1.5 billion received by Irish farmers annually must be guaranteed in any post-Brexit adjustments to the EU Budget and the Government must ensure that this vital EU funding stream is protected.

“The UK currently contributes 12% of the EU budget with a net contribution of €10.5 billion that will be lost post 2020. A 12% cut to CAP would be devastating for Irish farmers. EU direct payments account for 65% of family farm incomes in Ireland.

“Brexit is also the biggest challenge facing the agri-food sector has faced in decades. The impact of Brexit will be acutely felt by the Irish agri-food sector, the UK accounts for approximately 40% of our agri-food exports. With the loss of our largest food market from the EU, and the disruption to the high levels of integration in supply chains in the Border regions.

“Safeguards such as seeking a suspension of state aid rules for SMEs in agri-food, which are highly reliant on the UK market must be brought to the table. Solutions will also have to be found to the huge corss border trade in milk, livestock and other agricultural products.”

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