Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West, Aindrias Moynihan has said that Cork’s beef sector is facing serious challenges as the implications of Brexit and a Hard Border become apparent and real.

Deputy Moynihan was commenting after raising the issue with the Minister for Agriculture during recent Questions to the Minister last week.

“With 35% of all Irish food exports going to the United Kingdom, the impact of Brexit cannot be over stated.

“51% of our beef and 24% of our dairy products end up in Great Britain. Despite more of our beef than dairy going to the UK, our beef farmers have been promised quicker access to new markets than their dairy counterparts.

“While progress has been made in terms of securing access to new markets for Irish beef, I am very worried that access to these new markets will not be ready in time for Brexit.

“Minister Creed has consistently spoken about opening up new markets for Irish beef and dairy farmers, but the question that is on every farmer’s lips is obvious: will these new markets be open by the time the UK leaves the EU?

“I asked the Minister to outline what plans he and his Department have in terms of securing new markets and the answers weren’t very encouraging. It takes a number of years to secure the type of access needed. Look at the recent beef deal with China, those negotiations took in excess of two years.

“Brexit is already underway; no trade agreement has been negotiated as of yet, and Cork farmers, especially beef farmers, are worried that their access to the UK market will either be hindered or a tariff will be placed on their goods. They also have the worry of whether access to the new markets will be ready in time.

“Food Wise 2025 should be reviewed in the context of Brexit – it’s clear that the assumptions that underpin it are no longer valid. Our access to the UK market is no longer free and absolute,” concluded Moynihan.