Fianna Fáil Agriculture and Food Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue TD has accused the Government for being asleep at the wheel in planning for all Brexit scenarios.
Deputy McConalogue made the comments after obtaining new information which shows that just 1 veterinary inspector has been hired by the Department of Agriculture so far this year.
Deputy McConalogue said, “The Government should have been planning for all possible Brexit outcomes to ensure the agri-food sector is protected. However all of the available data shows that the required level of planning simply hasn’t been happening.
“The Taoiseach announced last week that the Government is planning to hire 1,000 officials, including 300 veterinary inspectors, in the event of no-deal Brexit. Both the Taoiseach and Minister Creed have failed to set out how they will deliver on this commitment.
“Considering the Department of Agriculture currently has 245 Veterinary Inspectors, Minister Creed must immediately outline how 300 additional qualified inspectors will be recruited by March 2019.
“The latest available information shows that Minister Creed has so far ignored the red-flgas that have been raised within his Department regarding the need to increase resources for Border Inspection Posts for live animals and animal products imported from countries outside of the EU.
“Last year his Minister brief stated that new inspection posts are required at Dublin Port, Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport and that major planning is required for a no-deal Brexit scenario.
“However, Minister Creed has confirmed this week that his Department only expects to complete a costed action plan by September to cater for increased sanitary and phytosanitary controls, including staffing and upgrading infrastructure at ports and airports.
“Shockingly, for over 12 months, the Minister sat on his hands when the warnings were clearly flagged by department officials to upgrade Borer Inspection Posts in advance of Brexit.
“This is stunning lack of attention and poor preparedness to the biggest threat to face Irish agriculture and farm families in living memory,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.