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. I recently extended the closing date for BEAM applications to 15th September. There is a helpline in place to deal with individual farmers queries and my Department will be holding a number of online clinics in the run up to the extended closing date.