December 11, 2018
Irish dairy president warns of disaster as Brexit deal remains unresolved
Pat McCormack, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association, is particularly concerned for dairy farmers, whom he described as the economic and social linchpins of rural communities.
"We need a deal and we need to move on with a trading relationship as close as possible to the current situation. No one could have foreseen that we would be left exposed to the twists and turns of British domestic politics to the extent that we are," McCormack told the Limerick Leader newspaper.
"In terms of Ireland's preparation, all we're seeing is money being pumped into state agencies to offset the threat of Brexit while the primary producer - who will ultimately pay the price of Brexit - has to date got little or no support."
British parliamentarians' continual rejection of the current Brexit deal, as presented by UK Prime Minister Theresa May, is escalating the likelihood of a "no-deal" outcome. Ireland would not be spared in such a scenario: its GDP would drop by 7% while that of the UK will fall by 5%, according to leaked government briefing papers.
The Brexit quagmire is further compounded by the future of the border dividing Ireland and Northern Ireland. In order to discourage the EU from pushing for a 'backstop' Irish border deal, Conservative Brexiteer Priti Patel called for the UK to use the threat of food shortages in Ireland.
"Perishable goods, such as food supplies, would be particularly badly affected, the papers state," Patel said, referencing the leaked documents. "These papers appear to show the government was well aware Ireland will face significant issues in a no-deal scenario."
In the latest sign of Brexit woes, Theresa May called off a Parliamentary vote on the deal which she had secured with the EU.