Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association president Patrick Kent has appealed to farmers not to be influenced by efforts to create a panic around Brexit.
“We cannot predict all the ramifications of Brexit for farming at this point. However, we must avoid scaremongering,” Mr Kent said.
Sterling has not collapsed, he said. It has slipped 7%-8% against the euro. Sensationalism on exchange rates and markets is being used by meat factories to push down prices.
Talk of a 31-year low for sterling is repeatedly heard from so-called experts and commentators who seem to be unaware that this only applies to the sterling/US dollar exchange rate.
The ICSA leader said Ireland would have to work very hard to ensure that its interests are kept centre stage in the EU/ Brexit talks.
“We cannot afford to have a bad trade deal with the UK where tariffs are imposed on our beef exports.
“However, it is also time to reconsider the Mercosur and TTIP trade deals. All talks should be postponed until we have the terms of the EU/ UK deal worked out,” he said.
Mr Kent, speaking at a recent ICSA meeting in Letterkenny , held in conjunction with Donegal Beef Producers Group, also called for a greater focus on new live export markets “because it is bad to be too dependent on selling beef to the UK.”.
Stressing that Brexit serves as a wake up call for Europe, he said the EU needs to listen carefully to the interests of each member state.
“The EU strategy on trade deals with the UK and others needs to be based on a much deeper understanding of the concerns of ordinary citizens,” he said.
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