IFA President Tim Cullinan said that Phil Hogan made a huge contribution during his five years as EU Commissioner for Agriculture, his recent tenure as Trade Commissioner and over his 40 years of public service.
“The Commissioner was a strong and respected voice for agriculture and Ireland in the college of Commissioners,” he said.
“He was particularly forthright on Brexit, pointing out from the start the dangers and pitfalls in the UK referendum, and especially during the EU-UK negotiations in standing up to the UK government when he ensured that the full implications for Ireland and Irish farmers remained to the forefront of considerations in Brussels,” he said.
In 2019, the EU Commission provided a €50m fund for Irish beef farmers to be matched by national funding. While some of the terms and conditions, included by the bureaucrats, took some of the gloss off the scheme, it resulted in €78m going to beef farmers at the backend of last year which was very badly needed.
He initiated the Unfair Trading Practices Directive, which could prove to be an important turning point in ensuring a fairer food chain.
It is now vital that the Government puts forward a candidate who would give Ireland the maximum possible chance of retaining the trade portfolio.