Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher has described the €4m allocation for Brexit contingency plans in Budget 2017 as shameful.  The Monaghan based Senator says the Government is failing to grasp the fact that Brexit poses a huge threat to Ireland, and particularly the border area.

Senator Gallagher explained, “Brexit is set to be one of the biggest political and economic challenges facing this country over the coming years, and unfortunately this Government is not showing the necessary leadership to ensure that the impact on Ireland is minimised.  Yesterday’s Budget was supposed to be “Brexit proofed” – that is simply not the case.

“The fact that the Government allocated a paltry €4m to deal with Brexit measures speaks volumes about how seriously Fine Gael and the Independents are treating the issue.  The Budget was an opportunity to put forward a credible plan to deal with the fallout of Britain’s decision to leave the issue.  What has been presented is weak and lacking direction.

“The situation is particularly serious for people living along the border.  We have already seen the seriousness of the collapse of Sterling, which is posing a real threat to businesses in towns and villages in Monaghan and Cavan, and indeed all counties along the border, as people begin to head across the border again. The mushroom industry, which is a major employer in the region, is facing a real challenge and there are genuine fears that jobs could be under threat.  Instead of piecemeal ideas, we need tangible strategies to protect and support our SME sector so that jobs can be created and retained.

“Farmers are also suffering as the shadow of Brexit looms large.  Farmers have already come through an extremely difficult time with falling prices and rising costs.  The wet summer has exacerbated the situation, with many grain and tillage farmers unable to harvest their crops.  The fact that no package for these farmers was contained in the Budget is deeply disappointing.

“What has been put forward in this Budget is an abysmal response to a real economic threat and more must be done before Article 50 is invoked by the British government next March”, concluded Senator Gallagher.