Today IFA President Tim Cullinan hosted the British Ambassador, Paul Johnston, on the farm of Ronan Delany, a mixed drystock enterprise in Dunshaughlin, Co Meath.
Topics discussed during the visit included the impact of Brexit, the UK-Ireland trading relationship, the UK’s pursuit of trade agreements outside of the EU and their potential impact on the agricultural sectors in the UK and Ireland, as well as the future growth and sustainability of the sector in the UK, Europe and globally.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet with Amb. Johnston this morning and to wish him every success, in person, in his role. Despite Brexit, the UK remains Ireland’s most important trading partner. Tariff-free trade between the UK and EU must continue. We avoided the worst-case scenario of a no-deal Brexit at the end of last year. Still, new impediments to trade have arisen, which we must be mindful of and monitor carefully,” said the IFA President.
He expressed his concern about trade deals with countries outside the EU could have on the sector both here and in the UK.
“Every effort must be made to safeguard trade in agri-food goods, which plays a crucial role in the prosperity of rural communities. Both Irish and British farmers are committed to upholding the world-class standards that underpin food production. The UK Government must hold its potential trading partners to the same standard.”
The future of the sector and its potential to contribute to climate cooling was also discussed. During a visit to Teagasc Grange in the afternoon, the Ambassador viewed the latest research into sustainable grass-based animal production systems. Environmental measures being incorporated into the beef production systems in Grange were also showcased and discussed.
British Ambassador Paul Johnston said,“I’m delighted to be paying this visit today. The UK hugely values its relationship with the Irish agricultural sector. Trade and co-operation are important for a whole range of reasons, including high-quality food supplies in both directions, and also working together to promote sustainable low-carbon agri-food sectors in both our countries. Our government has been very clear that any future trade deals must work for UK consumers and businesses, upholding our high regulatory standards. The UK’s reputation for quality, safety and performance is what drives demand for UK goods and is key to our long-term prosperity. Promoting high standards and greater sustainability go hand in hand”.