IFA President John Bryan today (Tues) led the launch in Dublin of the Farming and Agri-business YES campaign for the Stability Treaty. Flanked by agri-food and farming representatives, John Bryan said he was firmly of the view that a YES vote was in the best interests of farm families, the agri-food sector and the economy.
John Bryan said, “On the platform today, we are putting forward a united front from the farming and agri-business sector. We have representatives from the main processors, the marts and family owned-businesses, who believe a YES vote on May 31st is one element in our economic recovery.”
The IFA President said, “Full membership of the EU and a stable euro are vital components for the success of our sector, which is export driven. It is also important that Ireland maintains its influence within the EU as key decisions will be made on the future of the CAP in the next 12 months. A YES vote is best for our families, best for our businesses, best for our communities and best for our country.”
John Moloney, Managing Director of Glanbia, said, “From an agri-food industry perspective, membership of the EU has been hugely beneficial to Ireland, both in the context of access to the huge European market of 500 million consumers and through the Common Agricultural Policy support for Irish farming. The abolition of quotas in 2015 presents a unique expansion opportunity for the Irish dairy sector. It is critical we have a stable currency base to maximise our competitive position as we further develop export markets.”
“While the Stability Treaty will not resolve all the country’s financial problems, Glanbia recognises that it is essential to remain at the heart of Europe in working towards a satisfactory outcome for the country’s future and for the development of the CAP. Glanbia therefore supports a Yes vote as a means of restoring the credibility of the Euro.”
John Horgan, Managing Director of Kepak said, “The future of the Irish food industry is firmly rooted in producing high-quality food products for EU consumers. For Kepak and the Irish food sector, a well-functioning euro is the bedrock of a properly functioning European market for food products. A long-term assurance that we will have a stable euro currency will be a major confidence boost for investment in the sector. The Irish meat sector is firmly focused on delivering a 40% growth under Food Harvest 2020. We need a YES vote to underpin this Plan.”
The Chairman of Connacht Gold Co-op Padraig Gibbons said a resounding YES vote is vital to all sectors of the economy, especially the agri-food sector. “The alliances built with the major powers in Europe over the last 39 years have been of enormous benefit to rural Ireland and the food industry. We now need these alliances more than ever.”
“A YES vote is also crucial in building confidence in our fragile economy, nationally and internationally, and in ensuring that Ireland continues to have access to all sources of funding and support from the EU. At this perilous time for Ireland, we cannot be half-in and half-out of the EU,” said Mr Gibbons.
The Chief Executive of Cork Marts Sean O’Sullivan said the availability of credit is essential if we are to achieve the growth targets set out in Food Harvest 2020. “Farmers and agri-business have to be in a position to avail of credit at a competitive rate to allow them make investment decisions for the future. Being a full partner in a stable euro and ECB system is very important for the agri sector’s ability to access funding. A YES vote on May 31st secures Ireland’s position within this system.”
Sarah Furno, Cashel Blue Farmhouse Cheese, said, “Coming from a family-owned, farm-based speciality cheesemaking enterprise, our commitment is to the sustainability of our farm, to the long-term employment we give within our rural community and to the gradual growth of the Cashel Blue speciality cheese brand. Over 50% of our production is exported to France and Germany; both countries represent key opportunities for future growth. We cannot afford barriers to commerce for Irish speciality food which is already at a competitive disadvantage and does not have the benefit of the heritage and structure of our continental neighbours. To give our speciality exports and reputation a chance, vote YES.”
Jimmy Brett, Managing Director of Brett Bros, said, “I support a YES vote in the Stability Treaty Referendum because it reinforces our commitment to the euro and the single market, and it offers Ireland a path to economic viability from the present uncertain economic climate.”
“Food exports are contributing substantially to the country’s recovery, but our agribusinesses and farmers can best contribute to an upturn if the euro <span>remains as our stable currency and if Government funding for essential services is secure. Clearly growth will be essential for a full economic recovery, but in my view, growth will only be possible where there is discipline in the management of public finances. The Treaty will secure this.”
Macra na Feirme National President Alan Jagoe said, “Macra na Feirme believes a YES vote is best for young farmers, who want to be full and active participants in Europe. We are acutely aware of the significance and importance of a strong European fiscal policy, encompassing the Common Agricultural Policy that facilitates investment in our export-orientated agricultural industry. The National Council of Macra na Feirme, which represents young farmers, endorsed a YES vote to help strengthen the adherence to balanced eurozone budgets and begin the process of building a better and brighter future for young farmers.”
IFA Farm Family Chair Margaret Healy said, “The future of farm families is very much linked to a YES vote. I would encourage all members of farm families to turn out and vote on May 31st.”
Contact: Niall Madigan 450 1931/ 086 822 8635
Morag Devins (01) 426 0344/ 086 263 3940