Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen has criticised "the lack of preparedness" on the part of the Government as Brexit looms. Deputy Cowen was commenting as less than fifty days remain until the UK exits the EU.
Deputy Cowen explained, “The farming and agri-food sector will be the big losers if the UK crashes out of the EU. Both sectors are becoming increasingly worried about the lack of solutions being put forward by the Government."
“Farmers and agri-food producers across Laois and Offaly are genuinely worried about the lack of contingency plans in place. What I want to know is what is the Government waiting for? Are they going to wait until the chaos starts before they put any plans in place?"
“Even in the event of an orderly Brexit, measures will still be needed to support the sectors. They are massively exposed and they don’t have the financial resources to deal with any big shocks," he said.
“There are more than 6,000 families involved in farming as well as dozens of small, artisan food producers who have worked incredibly hard to build up their reputations and earn their place on UK shelves."
"Any disruption to trade between Ireland and the UK could see Irish, locally sourced products lose their market share and be replaced with products from other countries. This will leave the farmers and producers on their knees. They need plans to be put in place for them now, not after the horse has bolted”, concluded Deputy Cowen.