Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture & Food Charlie McConalogue Has welcomed the announcement of €6.7m to Bord Bia for increased market access measures, saying it vindicates the vocal campaign his party has been spearheading on the issue.

“Since the Brexit referendum, my party colleagues and I have been calling for increased funding for state agencies to support them entering new markets in order to reduce the current exposure Irish producers and businesses have with the UK”, said Deputy McConalogue.

“Budget 2017 allocated a measly €2m in additional funding for Bord Bia – the state agency tasked with promoting Irish food at home and abroad.

“Securing increased market access in non EU countries is vital to ensure that farmers – the primary producer in the food supply chain – secure new sales opportunities for our world renowned high quality produce, thereby increase their profitability levels.

“While I welcome this announcement, I still have concerns that we do not have sufficient contingency measures in place to grow our global footprint in unrealised agri food markets.  Bord Bia has only 5 offices located outside of the EU, and there are currently none in Japan or Korea.

“Furthermore, Bord Bia has only been given a budget to enable it hire 4 new staff this year, which is well below what’s needed.  I will be continuing to press the Minister on this important issue to ensure that our producers and exporters get the support they need in the post-Brexit climate”.