EU no-deal Brexit payments "must reach the primary producers" - Martin Kenny TD
Sinn Féin’s Agriculture spokesman Martin Kenny TD, today asked Minister Michael Creed to clarify how the targeted payments he has pledged to seek for beef farmers in the case of a no-deal Brexit would be allocated.
Deputy Kenny said:
“The minister had said in the past that he would favour intervention for Irish beef if the British market is closed to Irish produce.
"However, now he has opted for seeking targeted payments to beef farmers as an alternative.
“The payments would come from the Common Market Organisation framework, which would mean that payments would be linked to any price drop which would result from a no-deal Brexit.
"We must ensure that such funding would reach the primary producer, the farmer, and not be gobbled up by the factories which could then continue to put pressure downwards on farmers to sell more cheaply.
“While the final British withdrawal agreement remains unclear, the aim of any measure must be to ensure that the Irish beef which has gone to the British markets for decades continues to be exported there and that any tariffs imposed by the British on Irish beef be offset by these EU payments.
“The European Commission has already said that it is within EU law to provide a cushion against the most immediate and drastic effects of a no-deal situation.
“There are various measures of market support available that have been provided by the EU in the past, for example, to Baltic farmers when the Russian market was closed to them in 2014.
“Exceptional aid measures are permitted and if the quarter of a million tonnes of Irish beef are to avoid intervention after the end of March, then prices will have to be subsidised to the tune of whatever tariff the British impose on them.”