Declan Breathnach TD Louth (and East Meath)

13th March  2019

Plans for Agri-food tariffs disastrous for Louth Farmers and Food Producers –  Breathnach

– Tariffs are planned for products being exported from the Republic to the UK –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach has responded to the plans to introduce new arrangements for the border and to impose tariffs on products being exported from the Republic to the United Kingdom.

Deputy Breathnach commented, “This plan will have massive ramifications on the Republic’s Agri-food sector if introduced. I agree with the President of the IFA when he described the plans as “absolutely disastrous.  For farmers and food producers in Louth and the border region we have been told that tariffs would still apply to 13pc of goods imported into the UK including key agriculture products.   We export over 50pc of our beef to the UK, and with tariffs applied at the rate of €1,500 per tonne on manufacturing beef up to over €2,500 per tonne on steak exports, it would price us out of the market.  Any introduction of tariffs leads to an increase in smuggling, already rife in border areas.

“It’s looking very likely that we are heading towards a no-deal exit and given the gravity of what is at stake and the impact that a no-deal Brexit would have on Ireland and the EU an extension of Article 50 would be in all of our interests.

“The EU will obviously have to respond to the plans to allow goods to travel freely between the Republic and Northern Ireland in the short term and the Irish government will have to elaborate on their own plans to respond to this plan. The uncertainty is causing massive anxiety with businesses both North and South and will cost jobs soon if not sorted out.

“The Taoiseach stated last week that Ireland is the most prepared country in Europe when it comes to Brexit. He also promised to give us the latest figures for the levels of preparedness amongst business which go beyond the number of inquiries made.

“The government needs to publish these figures and needs to outline immediately the full details on levels of preparedness.

“We were previously told that the government has studied in detail the implications of different scenarios.  The government should, without delay, publish the likely impact of these new tariffs and put a plan in place to respond,” concluded Deputy Breathnach.

-Ends- Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2 (Declan – 087 2697638) (T) 01 6183549 (Email)  declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie