The Tánaiste has told the Dáil the Government is prepared to provide "substantial amounts of money" and relax state aid rules to help the beef sector if there is a no deal Brexit.

Simon Coveney was responding to the Fianna Fáil deputy leader Dara Calleary who raised concerns about an article in the Irish Independent newspaper today suggesting Britain is planning to allow low price Brazilian beef into its market without applying high import taxes or tariffs if there is a no deal Brexit.

Mr Calleary said "we have 36 days to go to Brexit deadline. This morning farming communities are waking up to the story on the front of the Irish Independent."

"It is reporting that the British government is suggesting a range of tariff rate quotas - which would be attractive to countries such as Brazil."

"We all know there is a huge difference between the quality of our beef compared to the beef in Brazil, but that won't make any difference if they come in on a tariff free basis".

"Leaving Brexit aside the beef sector is under enormous pressure. Cattle prices are down in the beef sector by over 200 euro a head year on year."

He said all they're seeing is a government who takes the attitude that "it will be alright on the night".

Responding the Tánaiste said the Government was "more than aware of the threats to the beef sector" which would be caused by a hard Brexit.

"We have been speaking to the European Commission very directly, we have made it very clear, and the Commission has made it clear they will support us, and support the sector to ensure that it survives and comes through a Brexit transition."

"We have heard various rumours coming out of the UK. At one point we were being informed that the UK was looking at no tariffs at all, and then we were told that Michael Gove was going to apply WTO tariffs, and then we were told about tariff free quotas."

"If they were to do that - they wouldn't be able to apply a different tariff system to Ireland or the EU as they would to the other part of the world, so the only thing which would differentiate Irish beef to beef from the rest of the world would be quality restrictions, which are not reassuring to Irish farmers."

Mr Coveney said the Government would step in to help the beef sector if there is a no-deal Brexit.

"If it comes to it, this Goverment will not be found wanting to support and work with this sector, should a no deal Brexit materialise, that will involve significant amounts of money and a relaxation of state aid rules that allows us to support this sector".