Liam MacHale, Director of European Affairs
As Director of the IFA Brussels office Liam plays a crucial role in promoting and defending Irish farmers’ interests in Europe. Regular contact is maintained with top European civil servants responsible for beef, milk, cereals, sheep, pigs, veterinary questions, rural development, forestry, environment, horticulture, feedingstuffs, potatoes, horses and aquaculture sectors, etc., to ensure that Irish farmers’ interests are clearly understood.
The Brussels office also provides an effective communications link with EU decision-makers. This is achieved by holding formal and informal meetings with the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, and other Commissioners and cabinet officials. The office also deals directly with key Commission officials responsible for formulating policy proposals in agriculture, environment, trade and other areas.
The IFA office monitors Council of Ministers’ meetings and EU Summits where critical decisions are taken and gives policy briefings to members of the European Parliament including members of its influential agriculture committee.
IFA represents Irish farmers in COPA, which is the umbrella group of European farmers’ organisations and actively participates in COPA working groups across the entire spectrum of commodities and non-commodity areas. At international level, IFA is in contact with other farm organisations and attends meetings of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO). Joe Healy, IFA President, is Vice-President of COPA and also Chairman of the COPA Working Group on Food Chain.