Fianna Fáil Senator for Carlow, Jennifer Murnane O'Connor, has said the threat to the beef industry locally and nationally in the event of a no-deal Brexit is nothing short of catastrophic.
Senator Murnane O'Connor was commenting on foot of reports that the UK plan to open their market to South American beef in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
She said: "The UK is Ireland's largest export destination for agri-food products with exports valued at €5.2 billion in 2017.
"Our beef industry in particular is hugely reliant on the UK market and 48% of all our beef exports went to the UK in 2017.
"If in the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK opens its doors to South American beef this would be nothing short of a catastrophe for our beef industry and would have a devastating effect on farmers the length and breadth of this country.
"The Brexit deadline is looming and with 32 days to go the risk of no-deal looks more and more likely.
"If this comes to pass and Irish beef is forced to compete in the UK market against cheaper imports from other countries thousands of jobs will be lost."
She added: "Carlow beef farmers have worked very hard to get their product on the shelves in the UK.
"Irish beef is thought of as a high standard, high quality meat in shops and restaurants in many countries across the world and every effort must be made to safeguard its reputation.
"I am calling on the Government to ensure that sufficient contingency plans, including a financial aid package, are in place to insulate our beef and agri-food industry in as much as feasibly possible from the fall out of Brexit."