Irish dairy industry is Brexit's net loser

Irish dairy industry is Brexit’s net loser

The Irish dairy industry will be a net loser irrespective of a ‘sort or hard’ Brexit outcome, according to Kevin Lane, CEO of Ornua (formerly the Irish Dairy Board).

Ornua produces Kerrygold butter and the Dubliner and Pilgrim’s Choice cheddar cheese brands: the latter is the UK’s second largest and fastest growing cheddar brand with turnover of €85 million a year. Lane said Brexit had highlighted an over-dependence on cheddar production targeted at the UK market.

“The single biggest cheddar market in the world is now under some type of threat,” said Lane as he launched the annual report for 2016. “We can see no possible scenario where the dairy side of agriculture will be a winner here.” While he was hopeful that tariffs might be avoided post-2019, other non-tariffs and restrictions such as border delays would impact on profits. “The practical endgame for us is less volume and less profit in the UK.”