One in three farms in Ireland will be at risk and could be forced out of business in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the nation's central bank warned on Tuesday September 17th, AFP reported.
"Around one third of all farms are classified as economically vulnerable," the Central Bank of Ireland said in a statement.
"Any future negative shock, even one less material than Brexit, would further expose the underlying weaknesses in the sector."
38% of Irish agri-food exports are made to Britain according to 2017 figures from the Republic's department of agriculture. But if the United Kingdom leaves the EU on October 31st with no-deal, it may revert to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules which would see tariffs and other barriers imposed to such cross-border trade between the north and the south.
Meat tariffs would run close to 50%, according to the Central Bank of Ireland report, leaving beef farms "particularly exposed to Brexit".
"The sector is heavily reliant on the UK market, faces high tariffs in a hard Brexit scenario and has a significant concentration of smaller farms with low or negative market incomes," according to the bank report.
Joe Healy, president of the Irish Farmer's Association, warned against a no-deal Brexit, saying it would be "catastrophic for farmers across the island of Ireland".
He said farmers back a withdrawal agreement and that "full regulatory and customs alignment is necessary to avoid a hard border in Ireland and to protect the integrity of the single market."
Last week Ireland said it would plan its 2020 budget on the basis of a no-deal Brexit, the latest indication that Dublin now considers it the most likely outcome.