IRELAND MUST PUSH FOR SPECIAL MEASURES ON BEEF AMID BREXIT UNPREDICTABILITY

25 JANUARY 2019

ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham has said it is now urgent that the Government undertakes a concerted push to get EU agreement on special measures to underpin the beef sector. “The key issue is to find a temporary home for beef exports normally destined for the UK market, in the event of a no deal Brexit. The only realistic short-term solution is a targeted intervention or aids to private storage scheme (APS) to apply where a member state is severely and uniquely impacted by Brexit.”

While Commissioner Hogan has sought to reassure farmers that the EU stands ready to help Irish and EU farmers in the event of a hard Brexit, the detail remains unclear. “The situation is precarious for beef farmers given the level of investment they have already put into their stock and now face the prospect of a wipe-out. A special package to buy displaced Irish beef into emergency private storage or intervention is the minimum required. This is not just in Ireland’s interest; it is also essential to avoid catastrophic disruption of the entire EU beef market.”

“However, we need to set a realistic trigger price and have it targeted specifically for Brexit fall-out. At present, the price support instruments of intervention or private storage are too blunt and of no use for the beef sector. The scheme can only kick in when the price of beef falls below 85% of an EU reference point that is set far too low and needs to be adjusted. Dairy reference prices are set at levels which mean that they can sometimes help the dairy sector but the beef levels are currently not fit for purpose.”

“The potential to allow flexibility under state aid rules must also be explored.”

ENDS