Brexit may de­mand more of the re­silience farm­ers showed

Irish Examiner - Farming - - FARM FINANCE - Kieran Cough­lan www.cough­lanac­count­

2018 will cer­tainly be recorded as one of the most tu­mul­tuous years for farm­ers.

Dra­mas ranged from weather events to Brexit, to fod­der short­ages, ex­po­sure to the va­garies of price volatil­ity, and the im­pe­tus for ac­tion on cli­mate change gain­ing sig­nif­i­cant trac­tion.

Mem­o­rable mo­ments in­clude the snow drifts of Storm Emma which left lo­cal roads com­pletely im­pass­able for days on end; the drought of June and July which re­sulted in our cows be­ing held in sac­ri­fice pad­docks eat­ing all too valu­able bales; and Storm Ali which closed down the Plough­ing Cham­pi­onships for a day.

De­spite the chaos, farm­ers ploughed on (ex­cuse the pun) do­ing what they do best, man­ag­ing their farms, look­ing af­ter their stock, and pre­par­ing for the win­ter.

Thank­fully, the fod­der cri­sis that could have ma­te­ri­alised seems to have dis­si­pated some­what, af­ter rel­a­tively kind au­tumn weather al­lowed stock to re­main out­side longer than ex­pected, and ex­tra bales to be saved.

Farm­ing in 2018 has cer­tainly not been easy, with all those ex­ter­nal events trans­lat­ing into men­tal, phys­i­cal and fi­nan­cial pres­sures in­side the farm gate.

While the weather events of win­ter 2018 are rel­a­tively be­nign — so far — com­pared to ex-hur­ri­cane Ophe­lia and Storm Emma, as the year draws to a close, the calamity of Brexit seems to be ramp­ing up by the week.

From a dis­tance, one would have a cer­tain ad­mi­ra­tion for the tenac­ity of Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May who has sur­vived up­heavals within and out­side of her Con­ser­va­tive Party.

How­ever, her re­solve seems to have brought her down a cul de sac.

EU lead­ers in the past week have ruled out a rene­go­ti­a­tion of her with­drawal deal, yet she lacks ma­jor­ity sup­port within the House of Com­mons to get ap­proval for the deal.

Ad­dress­ing the House of Com­mons this week, Theresa May sug­gested that if MPS wanted to en­sure that there is “not a no-deal”, they must ei­ther ac­cept a no-brexit or the deal that is on of­fer. Theresa May sug­gested that MPS will have an op­por­tu­nity to have a mean­ing­ful vote on the week com­menc­ing January 14, when the House will fi­nally de­cide whether to ac­cept or re­ject the deal on of­fer.

The PM has been ac­cused of run­ning down time, and forc­ing MPS to choose be­tween a bad deal or no deal.

Given that there is no fur­ther le­gal move­ment ex­pected from the EU, there is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for de­lay­ing the vote in the House of Com­mons for the com­ing month.

Yet, Theresa May re­fuses to hold an­other ref­er­en­dum, the people voted for Brexit, and her deal con­cluded with the EU will de­liver that Brexit.

She sur­vived her own in­ter­nal party vote of con­fi­dence last week, where a ma­jor­ity of Con­ser­va­tives backed her.

With that vote of con­fi­dence, she has se­cured 12 months of im­mu­nity from an­other such vote, mean­ing that her lead­er­ship can­not be chal­lenged from within the party.

Jeremy Cor­byn has now tabled a mo­tion of no con­fi­dence in the Prime Min­is­ter for de­lay­ing the vote, but his tabling of such a mo­tion is ef­fec­tively mean­ing­less, and can­not re­sult in Theresa May’s ex­pul­sion.

Last week, the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice con­firmed that the UK could of its own ac­cord stop the Brexit process by re­vok­ing Ar­ti­cle 50.

Theresa May has ad­mit­ted that she ex­pected to lose the now post­poned House of Com­mons vote on her Brexit deal last week by a sig­nif­i­cant ma­jor­ity, which sug­gests it is hard to see how this po­si­tion can be turned around in the next month or so, given there has been so lit­tle move­ment on the EU side.

Boil­ing the whole furore down, ul­ti­mately there still re­mains only three fun­da­men­tal out­comes.

They are a no-deal crashout of Europe, agree­ment of the deal ne­go­ti­ated with Europe, or re­vok­ing Ar­ti­cle 50 to stay in the EU.

What­ever Brexit and 2019 bring, Ire­land’s farm­ers will con­tinue to do what they do best, pro­duc­ing qual­ity pro­duce to a high stan­dard.

De­spite the up­heavals, there will con­tinue to be de­mand for Ire­land’s qual­ity pro­duce.

Farm­ers may need to adapt, and re­spond to a changed en­vi­ron­ment .

But, just like all the storms and crises of 2018, the re­silience of Ire­land’s farm­ers can carry them through 2019, what­ever it may bring.

Best wishes to all of you for 2019.

■ Char­tered tax ad­viser Kieran Cough­lan, Bel­go­oly, Co Cork. (086) 8678296

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.