Brexit: IFA urges Irish living in UK to vote to stay within EU
Irish Farmers’ Association president urges members to ask those in UK to vote ‘Remain’
Nigel Farage of Ukip argues for Brexit in a TV debate with British prime minister David Cameron on the issue on June 7th. The Irish Farmers’ Association has called on Irish people living in the UK to vote to remain within the European Union. Photograph: AFP Photo/Rex Features /Matt Frost/ITV/Shutterstock
The Irish Farmers’ Association has called on Irish people living in the UK to vote to remain within the European Union.
President of the IFA Joe Healy urged Irish farmers to ask their friends and relatives living in the UK to vote to remain in the European Union.
“It is the IFA’s strong position that Irish agriculture, the Irish agri food sector and the overall economy are stronger with the UK operating from within the EU,” said Mr Healy.
“We have a long history of people going to the UK to find work. There are very few Irish people who don’t have family members or friends living in the UK who are eligible to vote.
“We are appealing to those Irish living in the UK to voice the concerns that we are highlighting and vote for the UK to remain,” he said.
Pushed off shelves
Mr Healy said the agricultural sector would also face added costs from tariffs, quotas and Border controls and the threat that Irish foods would be pushed off UK supermarket shelves if Britain strikes better trade deals with other countries.
“We have to consider the potential reintroduction of tariffs, Border controls and cost s of trading with the UK. The cost of trading with the UK would inevitably rise,” he said.
The IFA also warned that European subsidies paid to Irish farmers under the Common Agriculture Policy would be at risk from a Brexit, as the UK contributes €8 billion to the the EU budget.
“Should the UK vote to leave the EU, Irish agriculture would undoubtedly suffer negative consequences, both in the short term and the longer term,” he said.
“Already in 2016, we have seen a weakening of sterling against the euro, arising mainly from the uncertainty on the referendum outcome. This has reduced the competitiveness of Irish exports, with a disproportionate impact on the Irish agri-food sector,” he said.
IFA chief economist Rowena Dwyer said there are 300,000 UK citizens living in Ireland or Irish citizens who have lived and voted in the UK since 2000.
Ms Dwyer said there is no provision for negotiating a special Ireland-UK trading relationship if Britain leaves the EU.