Fianna Fáil Senator Paul Daly has warned that the Mushroom industry faces catastrophe as the impact of Brexit begins to take hold in the agriculture sector.

Senator Daly made the comments in the Seanad and called on the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to put in place measures to assist mushroom producers to weather the post-Brexit storm.

“90% of all mushrooms grown in Ireland are exported to the UK. The entire industry is hanging on by the skin of its teeth in the aftermath of Brexit. The industry employs 3,500 people, and 130 jobs have already been lost to date,” said Senator Daly.

The mushroom industry provides much needed employment in rural areas which have been hit hard in recent years. The prospect of additional job losses is a terrifying one for communities in rural Ireland. We need urgent action by the Government to support mushroom producers and sustain employment.

“The collapse of the sterling is having a detrimental impact on the cash flow of mushroom producers. These producers already signed extensive contracts at the start of the year, and now they face a difference of €25,000 in what they receive for £100,000. This is crippling mushroom producers and there are fears that they sterling will suffer further drops in value in the months ahead.

“It’s astonishing that the Government has not been more proactive in assisting mushroom producers considering the number of jobs that are at stake. Budget 2017 should have contained a detailed plan to provide certainty for the sector. Unfortunately the Government failed to set out such a plan, but it is not too late for Minister Creed to bring forward proposals at this stage.”