The Brexit Barometer event, which was held at Bord Bia headquarters in Dublin last week, outlined the industry challenges and opportunities faced by agri-food businesses in Ireland in relation to Brexit.

Tara McCarthy

“One of the things that we took from Brexit is that it has focused us on what we already should be doing. Building innovation and building our capability”

The CEO of Bord Bia gave a comprehensive overview of how ready Irish businesses are for Brexit.

With 61% of Irish business admitting they have no strategic Brexit marketing plan, she realises improvements can be made. But she remains optimistic that Brexit can be a success.

Michael Creed

“Of course we are not giving up on the UK market. Shelf space was hard won. We will continue to meet UK standards and provide for UK customers”

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed discussed the potential opportunities that could be gained by Brexit and reassured those in attendance that the UK market will not be neglected.

The minister, who spoke from Seafest in Galway via satellite, told the attendee’s that the Department, along with other organisations, was actively seeking new markets for Irish exports, including his recent trade mission to the US and Mexico.

Jim Woulfe

“The idea of a hard Brexit is appalling”

The Dairygold CEO boss talked about the need to diversify in the face of Brexit.

With 18% of Ireland’s milk pool going to the UK in the form of cheddar, he admitted that new markets were needed – while maintaining the current UK shelf space.

Catherine Day

“The election of president Macron in France is significant for the EU. He may be a champion for the EU. Losing a big member state like the UK will mean the EU will need to reform and adapt. Now France will have to take up the UK’s mantle”

Former Secretary General of the European Commission Catherine Day talked about the importance of Emmanuelle Macron’s election win in the recent French general elections. With the UK exiting the EU, Ireland could potentially find a new ally in the French.

The UK absence in the EU has left a major degree of political uncertainty around Europe.

With elections in the Netherlands, France, the UK and Ireland, and upcoming elections in Germany, Austria, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, Europe is going through a period of transition, she said. She also highlighted that the re-election of Mark Rutte in the Netherlands and Macron in France have both been favourable for the EU.

Dean Attwell

“There won’t be a full Brexit. I can’t see it happening”

Dean Attwell, CEO and co-founder of Oakland, was highly critical of Brexit, describing it during his speech as complacent, misinformed and mistimed.

Attwell spoke in detail about the supply chain perspective, difficulty and opportunities involved for businesses in the case of a Brexit.

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