RENUA Ireland leader and Offaly politician John Leahy has said the government "to date, can neither drive nor lead" on the Brexit issue. He said the government seen to have been "sleep-walking towards an event that represents as definitive a turning point for this state as the War of Independence."
The RENUA Ireland leader singled out two ministers for particular attention with his criticism.
"Once again Shane Ross has gone AWOL when it comes to the future of tourism to such an extent he still has not met his UK counterpart. Sadly, in this regard he is running true to form, or rather the absence of form. Were Minister Ross a racehorse he would unseat his jockey at the first fence in every race even if it was on the flat," he remarked.
The RENUA Ireland leader reserved his sharpest criticisms for Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, noting that:
"Brexit poses an existential challenge to the future of Irish Agriculture. To date though the performance of Michael Creed makes Shane Ross look pro-active. This is particularly the case when it comes to the threat to the beef sector from British supermarkets. It is not enough for the minister to say that it is "for the industry to decide."
He went on to say that "this laissez faire laissez passer hands off stance is not good enough. We elect politicians to do; not to analyse and comment."
"Any British multiples who attempt to damage Ireland's 50% share of the Beef market should be met by the warning that such multiples have branches in Ireland. Farmers are already struggling because of bad advice from this government in the dairy and grain sectors. Mr Creed must ensure Ireland's €1.15bn beef trade with Britain is protected," Leahy stated.
Mr Leahy also expressed deep concerns about the consequences of Brexit for "small producers and the family farm."
"Little more than a third of family farms currently are economically viable. It will also only add to the sense of rural Ireland that they are second class citizens in a digital obsessed state."
"In fact with more than €4 billion in exports, rural Ireland creates real jobs and real products. It’s time for the invisible minister to leave the second division of cabinet performers and protect this hard-won market," Leahy concluded.
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