We want Irish cheese – Boris Johnson
The former British foreign secretary, figurehead of the Brexit leave campaign and Conservative MP Boris Johnson was in Dublin this week.

Boris Johnson continues to advocate for the UK to leave the EU, but says he will not support the deal currently on offer.

He says that the UK still wants to do business with Ireland post-Brexit.

“It is right to come out, but we want to trade with Ireland. We love Ireland. We buy 78,000t of your cheese every year,” he told RTÉ News.

Johnson was in Dublin this week for the Pendulum summit.

Sensitivities

“People in the UK deeply understand the sensitivities around your border. We will not see a hard border, that would not be right. There are other solutions,” he said.

He does not agree with the backstop which is currently described in the deal, but he commends Irish policy makers for trying to find a solution.

The UK, to be totally frank, was not remotely clear about what we wanted

“I think actually what was interesting about the Irish position over the years, and I pay tribute to the Irish Government, people in Dublin saw these issues a long way out a lot more clearly than people in London did.

"They got to work very fast on finding technical solutions and simulations on the border issue in the run-up to the referendum and the six months following.

"What then happened was that the UK, to be totally frank, was not remotely clear about what we wanted.

"In that vacuum, everything went in to reverse and we started talking about staying in the customs union. That, in my view, is where it all went wrong.”

Barriers to trade

Johnson believes that a no-deal Brexit will not happen, as neither the EU or the UK wants barriers to trade.

He added that the EU and UK, in the absence of a deal by March 29 will be able to extend the existing arrangements for as long as necessary to negotiate a free trade agreement.

“I don’t think that the EU, when it comes to it, will want to punish their exporters or business in the UK by having tariffs or quotas or anything else,” he said, despite RTÉ’s Caitriona Perry reminding him that is not currently on offer at the moment.

He said he would support Theresa May in her leadership, but not the current withdrawal agreement that is on the table.

The former British foreign secretary said that Brussels negotiations always reach a deal in the “final furlong”.

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Beef and dairy bosses demand Brexit action from Creed
Imposing tariffs on exports would "cripple trade", meat and dairy factory representatives have warned.

Beef and dairy bosses braced for a hard Brexit have handed a list of demands to Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

With 65 days remaining to salvage a Brexit deal, the nightmare scenario of a no-deal is becoming ever more likely.

A delegation including Aurivo’s Aaron Forde, ABP’s Martin Kane, Larry Murrin of Dawn Farms Foods, Cormac Healy of Meat Industry Ireland and Conor Mulvihill of Dairy Industry Ireland, met with Minister Creed on Tuesday.

Dairy co-ops want dual British-Irish status for Northern Ireland milk, export refunds and other trade supports. They called for a freeze on tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit and direct income aid for farmers.

Meat factory representatives warned that if tariffs are imposed on exports to the UK “it would cripple trade”, with the additional danger of sterling devaluation in a no-deal outcome.

They called for extra resources to ensure speedy border checks and increased ferry capacity and routes for direct shipping to the continent.

While European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan reassured farmers Brussels is poised to swoop to their aid, a Commission spokesman confirmed a hard border is inevitable unless the British reach an agreement with the EU or delay their withdrawal.

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No-deal Brexit to add 21c/l in cheddar processing costs

EU 'stands ready' to support farmers - Hogan
European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has assured farmers that Europe is planning for all possible outcomes from Brexit negotiations.

European Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan has moved to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to intervene in markets to protect prices in the event of a hard Brexit.

“We have to prepare for the worst. The European Union stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit,” Commissioner Hogan said, addressing a crowd of more than 250 farmers at the Kilkenny IFA annual dinner dance on Saturday night.

“We have the tools ready to intervene, including Aid to Private Storage, intervention and a revision of state aid rules,” he added.

Slow

His words will help give farmers comfort that, while Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has been slow to commit to supports, plans for a safety net at EU level are well advanced.

Hogan reassured farmers that the EU is ready for all scenarios, but warned that the Government must also be ready and ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure products can continue to move through ports.

Gloomy

While a no-deal Brexit paints a gloomy picture, vice president of the European Parliament Mairead McGuinness is reminding farmers that it could be avoided if a deal is reached between the EU and UK. But, she says, plans are being put in place to deal with a no-deal scenario.

“There are deep concerns about the consequences,” McGuinness told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“We will need to be looking at how you are going to support a vulnerable sector, that will call for money.

"All of those things will have to be discussed in the short period of time before the United Kingdom leaves.”

Lamb prices rocketing ahead
The trade for all types of lamb is strong currently boosting farmers' confidence in the sector.

Factory agents are scouring the country in the hunt for slaughter-fit lambs.

Prices have hardened significantly over the past number of weeks.

Farmers are securing €5.25/kg to €5.30/kg, with specialised feeders negotiating in excess of €5.40/kg for lambs.

The mart trade is booming for all types of lambs currently.

Fleshed factory-fit lambs are selling over €120/head, with €125/head common for lambs weighing over 50kg.

The store lamb trade is on fire, with prices of €2.50/kg to €2.80/kg and higher being recognised for hill-bred lambs.