No deal Brexit would ‘decimate’ South East agri-food sector: Kilkenny TD
EVERY effort must be made to avoid a nightmare ‘no deal’ Brexit, which would “decimate” the agri-food sector that employs thousands of people in Kilkenny and the South East, a local TD has claimed.
Fianna Fáil deputy Bobby Aylward spoke out as tensions between the Irish and British governments deepened after prime minister Theresa May reneged on promises she made in relation to the backstop.
The backstop is regarded as a vital insurance policy that would prevent a return of a hard border on the island.
Doomsday predictions on the impact of a no-deal scenario compiled by the Department of Finance suggest the economic impact will be “particularly severe”. It predicts the agriculture sector and small businesses who export to the UK will begin to shed employees during the second half of the year, followed by a “deepening” of the crisis in 2020.
Responding to the latest Brexit developments, Deputy Aylward said “every effort” must be made to avoid a no deal Brexit, which he said would cause “severe economic harm to Ireland, the EU and the UK”.
Deputy Aylward told KilkennyNow.ie: “Our trading relationship with the UK is crucially important and a no deal Brexit would decimate our agri-food industry.
“The detrimental impact of a ‘no deal’ Brexit would not be evenly felt throughout the country. The further into the regions you go, the greater the impact would be given the importance of agriculture and the overall food sector in those areas.
“The preparations being made by government for a ‘no deal’ Brexit must reflect this reality.””
Deputy Aylward was speaking after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar yesterday told the British Prime Minister that her U-turn on the backstop in the past 48 hours has only served to reinforce Ireland’s belief that one is necessary.
The UK Prime Minister will now return to Brussels in a bid to secure new concessions on the backstop, but both Mr Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney have firmly rebuffed Mrs May’s attempts to dilute assurances and commitments she has given in relation to the issue.
EU Council President Donald Tusk has also sent a message to Mrs May, saying: “The EU position is clear and consistent. The Withdrawal Agreement is not open for renegotiation.”