Food shortages and job losses - Ireland warns of 'dire' consequences of no-deal Brexit

Flag of the European Union. Collection
A no-deal Brexit will lead to food shortages and job losses, a report from the Irish Government has warned (Picture: Getty)

A no-deal Brexit could bring ‘dire’ consequences for Ireland, including food shortages and job losses, a report has warned.

The report from the Irish Government said the UK leaving the EU without a deal could cost have a £6billion impact on Irish economy, with an increase in unemployment of 50-55,000.

The report, titled ‘Preparing for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union Contingency Action Plan’ and updated in July, said: “A no deal Brexit will be an unprecedented event, bringing with it disruption and severe negative economic impacts.”

It said the impacts of the UK leaving Europe without a deal would have “severe negative effects in a number of sectors and among smaller and medium-sized businesses”.

“There are likely to be significant job losses in the most exposed sectors in a no deal scenario, with an estimated increase in unemployment of 50-55,000 after the UK leaves the EU,” it said.

A sheep farmer feeds his flock in a field between Fintona and Fivemiletown in County Tyrone.
Ireland's agri-food sector is at risk in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the report has warned (Picture: Getty)

The report went on: “The Minister for Finance has flagged that a no deal scenario could involve a headline deficit in the region of 0.5-1.5 per cent GDP for next year, depending on the magnitude of the economic shock.

“This would introduce a deterioration in the General Government Balance (GGB) of up to €6.5 billion.”


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The report said that while efforts are being made to mitigate any effects, tariffs and checks and controls on UK imports - at least in the initial period - would be disruptive to trade across the Irish Sea.

“Furthermore, in the immediate aftermath of a no deal scenario, it is anticipated that the UK ‘landbridge’ may be subject to severe delays and there would also be significant disruption to the all-island economy,” it added.

Ireland’s agri-food sector is also “uniquely exposed to a no-deal Brexit”, the report warned, saying the UK market accounts for 40% of export value overall, with a higher exposure for key products such as beef, cheddar cheese and mushrooms.

It said that WTO tariffs and duties on agri-food products make the sector the most exposed to tariff impacts.

“On 13 March, the UK published its proposed schedule of tariff rates and duties to apply in a no deal Brexit,” the report said.

“The proposed UK tariff regime would significantly impact on the competitiveness of the Irish agriculture sector and is extremely damaging for Irish agri-food exports to the UK, and most particularly for the beef and dairy sectors which would be the most severely affected.”

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