Speaking from Brussels where he is attending a meeting of the European farm group COPA, IFA President Joe Healy said there is an increasing realisation among farm bodies across Europe of the potential damaging implications of a hard Brexit.
Joe Healy said, “COPA President Martin Merrild, who spoke at IFA’s Brexit event on Monday, made a strong opening statement to the meeting here, on the implications for countries with significant exports to the UK, but also about the potential impact if product now going to the UK ends up back on the EU 27 market”.
On Wednesday, Joe Healy and representatives from the agri-food industry – Meat Industry Ireland, the Irish Dairy Industry Association and Food & Drink Ireland – held a meeting with the Taoiseach Enda Kenny where they outlined the serious ramifications for Irish agriculture and how Brexit represents the biggest threat in our lifetimes.
“The unified approach from the industry underlined to the Taoiseach just how serious a challenge Brexit poses. Farming and agri-food, which has an export value of over €11bn and which supports 300,000 jobs, is approaching the edge of a cliff and we need cool heads to prevail,” Joe Healy said.
IFA’s Brussels Office Director Liam MacHale said, “Tomorrow’s meeting is the culmination of extensive diplomatic activity since the UK vote last June. The approval of the EU 27 negotiating document will be the start of a new phase in the negotiations”.
Earlier this week, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan addressed over 700 farmers in Goffs at IFA’s Brexit event.
IFA’s policy document has set out our three key objectives: maintaining a close trading relationship with the UK market; retaining the value of the market and securing a fully-funded CAP after 2020.