Speaking following an IFA lobby of TDs and Senators on the beef crisis in Dublin, Roscommon IFA Livestock Chairman, John O’Beirne, said a hard Brexit would devastate Ireland’s €3bn beef and livestock sector.
“IFA estimate the imposition of WTO tariffs in a hard Brexit will impose a direct cost on the beef sector of €800m per year.
“While the Government and other sectors are talking about preparing for Brexit, beef farmers are already counting their losses. Cattle prices are down €100 per head on this time last year. Brexit uncertainty and the weakness of sterling has already hit hard on beef prices and farm incomes.
“The income situation on beef and livestock farms is at crisis point. The latest independent data from Teagasc shows farm incomes are down 16% in 2018 and incomes on cattle are between €10,175 and €15,412.
“Our local representatives must now put the pressure on the Minister for Agriculture to get his act together on this issue before it is too late,” said Mr. O’Beirne.
The IFA presented a detailed set of proposals including an EU Brexit Emergency Support Package to politicians, demanding that the Taoiseach and the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed take urgent action with the EU Commission to address the Beef and Brexit issues.
Mr. O’Beirne said IFA has requested that for every 5c/kg change on the price, Minister Creed needs to secure €20 per head additional direct payment compensation.
The IFA proposals to Government and the EU Commission include an EU Brexit emergency support package, a challenge to meat factories to increase prices, support for the live export trade to double numbers this year, and rewarding quality suckler stock with a significant price premium.