Irish firms ‘better prepared for Brexit’: Greencore

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Greencore boss Patrick Coveney claimed Irish businesses were thinking 'more rationally' about Brexit than UK firms
Greencore boss Patrick Coveney claimed Irish businesses were thinking 'more rationally' about Brexit than UK firms

Related tags Single market Republic of ireland Uk

Irish businesses – including food and drink firms – are better prepared for Brexit than their UK counterparts, according to Greencore boss Patrick Coveney.

“Irish business is thinking much more deeply and much more rationally than British business,”​ said Coveney, reported

“It is thinking much more rationally about what some of the consequences might be. It's going to bounce around a lot, both in terms of what is being sought out and the timeframe over which it happens,”​ said Coveney at Core Media’s Marketing Multiplied​ report launch on January 26.

‘Somewhat naïve’

The UK’s hope for a free trade deal within the EU was “somewhat naïve”​, Coveney said. The UK would need to continue importing food from Ireland whatever the outcome, he claimed.

Prospects for Irish agri-exporters weren’t as bad first thought, he claimed, as the UK was dependent on Ireland for trade.

“There is no structural way in which Britain will become self-sufficient in beef, self-sufficient in dairy in the next 20 or 30 years.”

Long-standing relationships were key for Irish businesses as they adapt to life after the UK leaves the EU, he said. The biggest challenge facing Irish manufacturers was overcoming changes to rules and regulations on trading with the UK, after it leaves the Single Market, he claimed.

Read more about Coveney’s thoughts here​.

Last year, Coveney told four reasons to stay in the EU, six months ahead of June's referendum. Watch the video below.

Irish food and drink exports topped £9.8bn

Coveney’s claims followed news this month that Irish food and drink exports topped £9.8bn (€11bn)​ annually for the first time, with overall food exports up 2%. But the value of exports to the UK fell by 8% compared with 2015, following Brexit-related currency fluctuations.

Irish minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed claimed “the UK will continue to be a critically important market for Irish agri-food products”​.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May revealed this month that the UK will be leaving the EU’s Single Market​. The Single Market – which the Republic of Ireland is part of – was UK exporters’ biggest market with 500M consumers.

Greencore boss on Brexit – at a glance

  • Irish firms thinking deeper and more rationally about Brexit than UK firms
  • UK will be reliant on Irish exports for 20 to 30 years
  • Irish exporters’ prospects not as bad as many fear

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