I have had ongoing discussions with Commissioner Hogan regarding the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit. I have stressed the need for the Commission to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on the agri-food and fisheries sector. Avoiding a no-deal Brexit continues to be the Government’s overriding policy priority.
I am also keenly aware that the recent months have been very difficult for beef farmers in particular. There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance.
In advance of Brexit and in recognition of the impact of the uncertainty around Brexit, amongst other factors, on the Irish beef sectors and prices, the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM), with funding of up to €100 million from the EU and the Exchequer, has opened for applications. Following consultation with stakeholders, I have now reopened the online application facility and applications can now be submitted up until 5pm on Friday 20th September. I am also happy to facilitate potential applicants at my Department’s stand at the National Ploughing Championships where I will have a dedicated team on site each day to answer any queries applicants may have and assist them in submitting their applications.