The Irish beef industry is entering the greatest period of uncertainty in a century, with the prospect of being separated from our main market by a huge tariff barrier a distinct possibility. Not since the 1930s would the Irish beef industry find itself in such an isolated position.
The textbook response to the threat posed by Brexit is that we should diversify our markets. Aside from the difficulty of diversifying from a high-value net beef importer on our doorstep, there is the issue of finding outlets for the volume of beef involved. The IFA has been right to identify this as a problem for not just Ireland but all EU beef producers. The BSE legacy means many markets remain closed despite the efforts of the Irish Government to reopen them. Even where success is achieved, like the US, progress is slow.