Irelands food makers "remain particularly reliant" on UK, trade body said

Ireland's food makers "remain particularly reliant" on UK, trade body said

Ireland's food and drink industry have called on the country's government and on the EU to provide financial support worth EUR675m (US$794.7m) to help manufacturers cope with Brexit.

The UK is the largest market for food exports from Ireland and today (7 October) trade association Food Drink Ireland set out the backing it believes the industry needs to deal with the aftermath of Britain's departure from the EU.

Writing to the Irish government, Food Drink Ireland said funds amounting to 5% of the value of exports to the UK will be needed annually from domestic and EU sources for at least three years. Ireland's food exports to the UK are worth around EUR4.5bn.

Food Drink Ireland said the funds could come from a EUR4bn Brexit contingency fund Dublin has set aside for the UK's departure, as well as from the EU's special "Brexit Adjustment Reserve". The association also called for the derogation from EU rules on state aid to be extended.

Paul Kelly, Food Drink Ireland director said: "These measures include accessing the existing EUR4bn in Brexit contingency funding set aside for the years 2020 to 2025, an extension beyond December 2020 of the Temporary Framework for State aid supports as well as substantial funding from the EU's EUR5bn Brexit Adjustment Reserve and any increased tariff revenue from UK imports in order to maintain and sustain economic activity and jobs."

Some of the funds could be used in the short term to extend Ireland's Covid-19 wage subsidies in the event of the UK failing to agree a trade deal with the EU, the trade body said. "In the event of no-deal, Irish agri-food and drink will also see tariffs of up to EUR1.5bn imposed on exports to the UK," the association asserted.