'We have to bail out beef industry in event of no-deal Brexit' – Varadkar –

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the Government must bail out the beef industry, which is likely to be devastated in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Speaking in the Dail today, Mr Varadkar said the overriding concern of everyone in the beef industry is what is going to happen in the next couple of weeks with regard to Brexit.

“I want beef farmers and the beef industry to know we have their back.

“We are working to secure a deal that provides a transition period so there is no change to the rules of trade until at least 2020.

“I believe that will restore confidence to the industry and allow prices to rise again.

“In the event that we don’t have a deal we are working very closely with the European Commission to put in place financial supports that will be necessary to bail out the industry

The Taoiseach said this is something we will have to do to defend incomes and jobs.

However, on the current slump in beef prices, he said the Government does not control the beef factories or the price of any commodity.

Major Grant Aid

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed told the Irish Independent in January that if, and when, a hard Brexit becomes a reality, Ireland will be making a case for major grant aid.

“You’re looking at hundreds of millions here. Between the beef industry and the fishing industry we’re talking mega-money,” he said.

Meanwhile, Britain’s government has reached a general agreement on import tariffs if it leaves the European Union without a deal, trade minister Liam Fox said on Wednesday, but the business minister warned that tough choices remained.

Broadcaster Sky News reported on Tuesday that the government was planning to slash tariffs on 80-90pc of goods if it left with no deal, which would benefit consumers but damage the competitiveness of many British factories and farms.

Speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday, Fox said senior ministers had reached an outline agreement but that it was too soon to make details public.

“It is always possible that there could be further changes, but there has been a basic agreement,” he told a parliamentary committee.

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