Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has called on the Irish government to engage proactively to prepare for the implications of a British government trade deal with Australia, which could see tariff-free access for Australian beef and lamb into Ireland’s most important market.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The UK-Australia trade deal will set the template for future British trade deals, including with the US, so the wider implications could potentially be devastating.
“This British trade agenda, coupled with a EU trade policy that would see hundreds of thousands of beef being imported from countries like Brazil, presents a nightmare scenario for Irish farming.
“At a time when Irish farmers are facing the challenges of climate action and a new Common Agriculture Policy, clearly the prospect of a British deal with Australia that allows tariff-free access for Australian beef and lamb will raise the fears of farming communities across the island of Ireland.
“I have been in contact with my colleague Agriculture spokesperson in Stormont, Declan McAleer, who has already raised concerns at that level.
“It is imperative that, in the first instance, Minister McConalogue commissions an impact assessment on the implications of such a deal for Irish farmers and that he proactively engages with the British government on this matter.
“It is also essential that the Irish government demand that the EU cease their trade deals that would further damage our agri-food sectors, particularly the Mercosur trade agreement.
“The prospect of a British trade deal with Australia is the latest in a number of serious challenges facing the Irish family farm; our farmers need to know that government is doing everything to protect them and the communities that depend on them.”