Taoiseach: Government working with the EU to 'bail out' farming industry

Taoiseach: Government working with the EU to 'bail out' farming industry

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has reiterated that the government is working with the EU to “bail out” the farming and beef industry if Britain crashes out of the union without a deal.

He also confirmed that there will be a period of grace for motorists travelling from the North to the South where they would not need an international green card for insurance purposes.

During Leaders Questions in the Dail, Mr Varadkar responded to concerns about the low price of beef for farmers.

While refusing to intervene with factories or setting the price of beef in markets, he said the overriding concern was now what happens for the industry with Brexit.

The government was "working to secure a deal" over Britain's EU divorce so there would be no change to trade until at least the end of 2020, TDs were told.

But, in the event there is no-deal, the government was working with the European Commission to get financial supports to “bail out the industry”, Mr Varadkar said in response to questions from Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae. He said the government needed to “defend incomes and jobs”.

His remarks come after reports that Britain is considering slashing import tariffs if it leaves the EU without agreement, a move which could undermine the price of Irish goods exported there.

Mr Varadkar also tried to calm concerns from Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty over drivers needing a special green card to show proof of insurance cover if crossing the border.

While not being able to speak for Britain's arrangements, the Taoiseach said there would be a period of grace for a few months for drivers coming South who would not face prosecution for not having the green cards.

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