An Tánaiste Simon Coveney has issued a stark reminder on the impact Brexit will have on the agri-food industry and farming.
He pointed out that agri food remained Ireland’s most important indigenous industry and contributed €13.7bn to the economy, with a large volume of trade done with the UK market.
While many media pundits are obsessing over Government formation, Coveney warned the Guild of Agriculture Journalists that “the Brexit process is far from over”.
“With the UK’s withdrawal now complete, the next stage of Brexit will require us to work on two fronts - securing agreement on a future EU-UK relationship, and preparing for the changes this will bring,” he said.
Coveney was delivering the ninth biennial Michael Dillon Memorial Lecture organised by the Agricultural Guild and Kerry Group on Friday 21 March.
Farmers are already feeling the brunt of the UK withdrawal, as negotiations continue on the next CAP budget.
With the UK leaving a funding gap, farmers are facing a significant reduction to the overall budget. Should the cuts be approved, it will have a negative impact on many farmers across Europe financially.
The concern around CAP was highlighted by chair of the Southern Guild of Agricultural Journalists, Amy Forde, who said it was vital for journalists to report and analyse pivotal events such as CAP, climate change and Brexit, and communicate the key issues to the farm community.
“Last year alone was one full of challenges for the sector and someone that has been to the forefront of those challenges over the last number of years has been An Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney,” she said.