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UK should re-run Brexit vote, Irish minister says

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Britain should take Ireland's approach to referendums and rerun the Brexit vote because of the damage it is likely to cause, an Irish government minister has suggested.

Agriculture minister Michael Creed told Sky News that a second referendum or viewing last year's result as consultative would be "ideal" for Ireland.

Mr Creed said "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."

Image:Michael Creed is 'frustrated' at the progress of talks

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."

There is growing concern across Ireland about the impact Brexit could have on the state's agri-food industry, which makes up 10% of the overall economy and employs hundreds of thousands of people.

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.

LIFFORD, IRELAND - JANUARY 9:  Grass fed cows on Raymond Palmer's beef cattle farm on January 9, 2015 in Lifford, Ireland. Irish beef has been approved for sale in the United States for the first time in almost 16 years following the lifting of the ban on European beef imports in place since the BSE outbreak in the late 1990s. Ireland is the first European country granted access to the US market.  (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Image:Irish farming is one industry exposed to Brexit fallout

"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."

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Industries particularly exposed to the fallout from Brexit include Irish 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.

Sarah Gubb, owner of Cashel Blue farmhouse cheese makers, based in Co. Tipperary
Image:Sarah Gubb says Brexit is a 'great opportunity for Ireland'

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."

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