British ate 65,000 Irish cattle and 10,000 pigs in 2015

British consumers ate 65,000 of our cattle and 10,000 Irish pigs in 2015, Irish farm organisations told a meeting in the House of Commons on Thursday. ICSMA chief John Comer told MPs that Ireland sells €4.4 billion worth of food and drink a year to the UK, but we also buy €3 billion worth from them, the Irish Independent reported. This centuries-old relationship of beneficial exchanges was now at risk from Brexit. “The UK and British exporters would struggle to find as dependable and steady a market as we had proved to be,” he said.

Comer listed some of the problems for Irish farm exports raised by Brexit: transit across the UK to mainland Europe,  all-Ireland animal health, cross- border farm holdings, cross-border Co-op processing, currency fluctuation and – most important of all – the possibility of tariffs or quotas.

ICSA chief Patrick Kent said Irish farmers have already taken a hit as a result of Brexit that cannot be sustained and needs to be reversed. “Farmers are at a crossroads regarding farm decisions. At current levels it is just not sustainable at farm gate level. We have to cut production until we have a clearer view of what trade deal will be done between the UK and EU.”