The Government is considering how it can support farmers and fishers “to try to nurse them through this crisis and have them stronger on the other side”, An Tánaiste Simon Coveney has said.
“Incomes are down in agriculture, and this is linked to demand, confidence and market restrictions as a result of COVID-19. This is absolutely the case.
“Consider the example of fishing. Our biggest markets for Irish fish are France, the UK, Spain, Italy and China. When one thinks about how those countries have been impacted by COVID-19, one will begin to realise why there is such a challenge ahead for us in terms of rebuilding those markets.
"It is a little different for agriculture, but not that different. Of course, we are considering how we can support these sectors to try to nurse them through this crisis and have them stronger on the other side,” he told the Dáil on Thursday in response to a question from Independent TD Marian Harkin.
Harkin cited the study carried out by UCD, commissioned by the Irish Farmers Journal this week, that farm incomes will be down by between €600m and almost €1bn this year as a result of COVID-19.
Independent TD Michael Collins raised the issue of the Mercosur trade deal and if the Government would oppose it.
In response, an Tánaiste said that the Government is going “to assess the potential economic impact of that deal before we make a final decision on it”.
He told Deputy Collins that the Government “will be making decisions that are in the best interests of Ireland through that process”.