Addressing the Oireachtas sub-Committee on the Fiscal Treaty Referendum this morning (Thurs), IFA President John Bryan said any withdrawal by Ireland from a central role in Europe would have negative consequences in the short-term and potentially lead to Ireland’s isolation in the longer term.
Mr Bryan said, ““Following consideration of all the issues earlier this week, the members of the IFA Executive Council decided unanimously it is in the best interests of Irish families, the business community, including agri-food, exports and jobs to vote Yes on May 31st.”
John Bryan said, “Within the next 12 to 18 months, it is expected the latest reform of the CAP will be agreed. It is critical for Irish agriculture and the Irish economy that a strong, fully-funded CAP is negotiated, which maintains our existing funding envelope and provides flexibility to direct support towards active farmers in order to underpin agricultural production and sustain the 300,000 jobs dependent on the sector.”
The IFA President said the decisions on the CAP will be made in the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. “Influence and goodwill in Europe are necessary conditions to ensure the best outcome in these crucial negotiations.”
Earlier this week, the IFA Executive Council unanimously recommended a Yes vote to the farming community. John Bryan said the Treaty must be taken on its own merits. He said, “Farm families face serious challenges, such as the loss of off-farm jobs and rising costs, in addition to the impact of cuts in public expenditure and increased taxation.”
“However, IFA is firmly of the view that these and other issues must remain separate from the debate in the upcoming Referendum. IFA supports the Government’s position that the way forward for the euro must also include a sustainable path for recovery and growth, both in Ireland and in Europe. A key element for growth will be securing a strong, fully-funded CAP after 2013, which will underpin agricultural production and economic activity in Ireland and across the EU.”
Mr Bryan said IFA would be holding regional meetings in the coming weeks. He said, “These will provide an opportunity for the Association’s 4,000 branch officers and leaders to inform themselves about the Fiscal Treaty. The Association will embark on an active campaign and work to inform our membership of almost 90,000 why a Yes vote is in their best interests.”