Minister urges UK to take 'a leaf from the Irish' and hold second Brexit vote

Michael Creed says a second referendum would be "ideal" for Ireland

Minister urges UK to take 'a leaf from the Irish' and hold second Brexit vote

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed at a press briefing in relation to Budget 2018 | Image:

Minister Michael Creed has suggested Britain should take Ireland's approach to referendums, and re-run the Brexit vote because of the damage it is likely to cause.

Mr Creed said a second referendum or viewing last year's result as consultative would be "ideal" for Ireland.

He told Sky News: "The obligation for us is to prepare for all the possible scenarios, and they are very challenging scenarios - from the UK falling out, to the closest possible relationship".

But he added: "Obviously if (the UK) were to take a leaf from the Irish approach to referenda and either have a rerun or reflect that these referenda in the UK are only consultative that would be ideal from our point of view."

While accepting that any second referendum would be an internal matter he insisted the Irish Government "were getting on with the business of planning for Brexit."

Mr Creed, who is in regular contact with his British counterpart Michael Gove, insisted there is no upside for the Irish farming industry to Brexit.

And he expressed irritation at the lack of progress in negotiations.

"We are frustrated, these negotiations are talking much longer than we would like," he said.

"We have an anxiety to move as quickly as possible but only at the appropriate time when progress has been made towards the future trading relationship will be.

"The lack of clarity around that, the lack of certainty is pausing investment in the industry."

Industries particularly exposed to the fallout from Brexit include fishing, beef farming and cheese production.

A recent survey found 82% of all cheddar cheese consumed in the UK came from Ireland.

But not everyone agrees there is cause for concern.

Far from seeing Brexit as a threat, Sarah Gubb, owner of Cashel Blue farmhouse cheese makers, based in Co Tipperary insisted it would allow producers like her to find new markets.

"I think it is a great opportunity for Ireland, I am very pro-European, and this to an extent is going to loosen the apron strings to Britain.

"Britain will always be an important trading partner of Ireland but actually when you look to many industries, the fish industry, the meat industry, Irish produce is really respected in continental Europe."