The President of ICMSA has told the association’s AGM in Limerick that the preservation of our food exports to the UK on a tariff-free basis must be our guiding principle right throughout the Brexit negotiations expected to begin early next year. John Comer told the farmer-delegates that Ireland’s food trade with the UK was centuries old and currently valued at just short of €5 billion per annum. He said it was impossible to over-state the dangers presented to our ‘Flagship’ food sector’s exports to the UK by a new system of tariffs, customs-clearance and the persistence of Sterling devaluation relative to the Euro.
Mr. Comer told the AGM – attended by Minister Creed and former EU Ambassador to the US, John Bruton – that Ireland could not “stand idly by” while decisions that went to the very core of our State’s economic prospects were debated without reference to the critical importance and ancient commercial ties between Irish food production and their UK markets.
Ireland must be cognisant of others’ positions but, said Mr Comer, but if there was ever a time and occasion when we must leave no doubt about our intention to defend our national interests, then it was surely this. Mr. Comer said that the huge swathes of rural Ireland more or less completely dependent on farming and food production and needed to know that our Government would be setting out the preservation of Ireland’s current access to the UK food market as a national strategic imperative on which Ireland could not – and would not – concede.
He told Minster Creed that this reality needed to be communicated to the Commission and other Member States “Early and Often”.
Ends 28 November 2016.
John Comer, 087-6168758
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office