Ireland would suffer dramatically if Britain decides to trade elsewhere
Ireland currently exports 37 per cent of its agri-food to Britain, pocketing around £3.4billion in the process.
But this could all come crashing down if Britain decides to import low cost food from outside the Brussels bloc when Brexit negotiations are completed.
There are fears in Ireland that this will leave the country significantly out of pocket and that Britain will be importing goods that do not go through the same rigorous safety and quality controls as those coming from Europe.
Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, has been forced to draw up a seven point plan to find alternative export markets in anticipation that Britain will slam that trade route shut.
Ireland could lose billions if Britain out-sources its agricultural imports
He said: “As Roy Keane would say, ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’.”
Unless the EU could offer some kind of tariff reduction, it would not make strong financial sense to continue trading with Ireland at a drastically increased cost.
Mr Creed added: “It would be difficult to replicate a market as rewarding as the United Kingdom market.
17 best quotes to come out of Ireland Thu, March 17, 2016
Some of the funniest and wisest things ever said about Ireland, for St. Patrick's day.
Getty * WENN 1 of 18
17 of the best Irish quotes
Irish Farmers Association president Joe Healy said the threat to Irish agriculture posed by Brexit was “stark”.
He wants to make sure Ireland’s interests are put forward during Brexit negotiations as the weakening of Sterling in 2016 wiped around £482 million off the exports industry.
He said: “Any free trade agreement must include the maintenance of European standards and the UK’s acceptance of the European Common External Tariff to protect the UK market against low-cost imports from outside the EU."
- Irish farmers DEMAND EU give UK good deal to secure post-Brexit trade
- Activists demand special deal for Northern Ireland or veto on Brexit
Ireland's economy as a whole could also suffer – moving away from agriculture and towards business, one lobbyist, Fergal O’Brien, of IBEC, is very concerned about the damaging financial impact Britain's EU exit could have on Ireland.
He said: "When your partner shoots itself in the foot, you're bound to suffer too."
Mr O'Brien is convinced Brexit will mean less sharing of resources and less movement of people between Britain and Ireland, providing the Emerald Isle with a much smaller talent pool and less of an ability to break out of its own, comparatively small, market.