16 Mar 2011
IFA PRESIDENT HOLDS FIRST MEETING WITH NEW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTUREOireachtas
IFA President John Bryan has held his first meeting with the new Minister for Agriculture, Marine and Food Simon Coveney, at which he set out the European and national issues that need to be addressed for farm families and the agri-food sector to contribute fully to the country’s economic recovery.
John Bryan said he had a constructive meeting with Minister Coveney, which covered many issues including Mercosur, CAP reform and the importance of launching a new AEOS Scheme as soon as possible for farmers leaving REPS. “I also emphasised the central role that farm schemes and taxation reliefs will play in realising the growth potential for jobs and exports in the agri-food sector.”
Mr Bryan said one of the immediate priorities is the threat posed by the Mercosur talks, which is of huge concern to beef and livestock farmers in particular. “Minister Coveney understands the damaging implications of a deal and recognises the importance of Ireland safeguarding our National Herd. When he attends his first Farm Council meeting in Brussels tomorrow on CAP, the Minister will convey Ireland’s concerns in relation to Mercosur.”
He said Minister Coveney must prioritise the immediate re-opening of the AEOS Scheme for farmers leaving REPS 3 to allow farmers to make applications well in advance of the mid-May deadline. “Farm schemes make up a significant part of farm incomes and are crucial in stimulating the rural economy and supporting jobs. The new Government must ensure that all farm schemes are fully funded and remain in place to maintain our productive base, which will be an important element in fulfilling the growth potential of <i>Food Harvest </i>2020.”
John Bryan said he hoped the key IFA commodity chairmen would meet Minister Coveney in the very near future to discuss the specific concerns of their sectors.