‘Brexit chaos for southern farmers due to Dublin’s negotiation stance,’ says DUP
The stance taken by Dublin during Brexit negotiations is causing its own farmers chaos because it “seemed more interested in punishing the UK” than ensuring smooth trade, the DUP has claimed.
In February the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) said Brexit was causing southern beef farmers to suffer prices 11% below break-even - but they hoped to off-set this with grants totalling £1.2bn from Dublin and Brussels.
It also advised that new customs and border procedures were proving a real headache for food and drink exports to the UK - worth £3.7bn per year. The Irish meat industry also said export costs had increased 40% due to new trade frictions.
But speaking to the News Letter now, an IFA spokesman says there has been no significant change.
“Prices have risen on the back of tight supplies in the UK; reduced supplies here; and the absence of significant volumes of South American imports into the EU since early Spring,” an IFA spokesman said.
“These factors have underpinned the trade with prices up 12%. However, production costs have risen at the same time and surpassed the price increases, leaving beef producers in much the same place.
“The full impact of trade deals has yet to be felt. The UK deal with Australia which allows beef and lamb into the UK market has the potential to displace our product if the quotas are filled. This situation could be exacerbated if more trade deals with 3rd countries are done.”
He added that Irish farmers could face increased costs due to new trade arrangements and reaffirmed that the IFA has made “a strong case for a substantial level of support for Irish farmers from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve”.
He added: “The arrangements under the agreement reached last Christmas have yet to be fully implemented. When they are, the danger is that increased costs will be passed back to farmers.”
DUP Agriculture spokesman William Irwin said southern farmers are seeing the impact of Brexit and trade barriers.
“The stance taken by Dublin during Brexit negotiations has left their farmers out of pocket - it seemed to be more about punishing the UK than engaging on the real issues,” he said. “One of the reasons the UK voted to leave was because the system was out of touch with our priorities. Just as Brussels is insisting on a Protocol that doesn’t work for NI, it will continue with an approach which Irish farmers will just have to suck up.”
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