Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (100)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

100. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if the compensation package being negotiated with the EU for beef farmers will be applied retrospectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13989/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

I and my officials have been working very hard for quite some time to sensitise other Member States and the European Commission to the potentially very severe impacts of a no-Deal Brexit on the Irish agri-food and fisheries sector. We have also emphasised that specific supports would be required in order to deal with these impacts. The threat faced by the Irish agri-food and fisheries sector is explicitly recognised in the Commission’s own communication on contingency planning.

I have held a series of bilateral discussions with Commissioner Hogan on this issue, including en marge of the Council of Agriculture Ministers in Brussels last week. I stressed the need to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on farmers and processors, including through traditional market supports and the exceptional aid provisions under the CAP's Single Common Market Organisation regulation, as well as increased flexibility under State Aid regulations. Commissioner Hogan has reiterated the EU’s readiness to respond and support Ireland, and we will remain in contact on these issues as the situation evolves.

The terms and conditions of any aid package will be announced in due course, in the event that a disorderly Brexit occurs. Obviously I very much hope that this outcome, with all its associated negative impacts for Ireland, the EU and the UK itself, will be avoided by the acceptance by the UK Parliament of the Withdrawal Agreement.