IFA President Joe Healy and National Livestock Chairman Angus Woods met this week in Dublin with the leader of the French Beef Farmers’ Association (FNB) and COPA Beef President, Jean Pierre Fleury to discuss beef, Brexit, CAP and trade deals.
IFA President Joe Healy said the IFA is working very closely with our European colleagues in COPA to ensure they have a full understanding of the Brexit issues for Irish and European farmers and the agri-food sector. IFA has worked hard in ensuring that the Irish Government keeps farming and the food sector top of the Brexit agenda. “We outlined our key priorities on Brexit around maintaining free trade with the UK and protecting the CAP budget,” he said.
The IFA/FNB/COPA delegations met with the Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture Andrew Doyle TD on Angus Woods’ farm in Co Wicklow. In addition, the delegation held meetings with senior officials in the Department of Agriculture, Meat industry Ireland and Bord Bia.
On Brexit Jean Pierre Fleury said, “European farmers understand that if there is not an acceptable solution to Brexit, particularly on beef, then this will become a problem for the European beef market. We cannot allow this happen”.
The IFA/FNB/COPA delegation also discussed the CAP and forthcoming proposals from Commissioner Hogan, as well as EU trade negotiations with Mercosur. On CAP, Angus Woods said it was agreed that ensuring a strong CAP budget, with Pillar I and Pillar II payments to address the income problems in the livestock sector, are the priorities.
On Mercosur, IFA, FNB and COPA are strongly of the view that the EU Commission should not proceed with any negotiations on beef in the negotiations in view of the current developments on corruption in the Brazilian meat sector and the Brexit challenge at EU level.