Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon told the Seanad Committee on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union that €121m has been given to 615 of the most exposed companies, employing 47,000 people.

The sectors most impacted are food, construction products, engineering, agriculture, machinery and timber and furniture.

In response to a query from the Irish Farmers Journal, Enterprise Ireland confirmed that of this money, almost €26m went to the food sector, which included Irish meat and dairy processors.

Enterprise Ireland told the committee that client companies were adapting to the new trading environment, although with difficulty. A survey of 400 companies revealed that 30% were having problems with rules of origin and 29% were impacted by customs procedures and delays at ports. Vat is a problem for 165 of companies surveyed and 13% are having wider supply chain issues. The UK hasn’t introduced SPS controls yet, so this is not an issue at present.