Speaking in advance of the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit due to take place tomorrow, Wednesday, November 2, the President of ICMSA has warned that an acrimonious Brexit that leaves Irish food and agri-exports to the UK subject to tariffs or any other additional charges would represent an unmitigated disaster for Ireland’s €10 billion farming and food sector. John Comer said that approximately €5 billion worth of Irish food exports went to UK markets in a trade that had been developed and maintained over decades if not centuries. That bilateral trading relationship simply had to be safeguarded and the onus was “absolutely squarely” on the Irish Government to ensure that other Member States that might have much weaker and smaller trade relationships with the UK were not permitted to ‘set the pace’ regarding the conditions under which the UK’s post-EU relationship would be established.
Mr. Comer said while farmers heard the Government’s insistence that Ireland’s ‘special relationship’ with the UK would have to be recognised at EU level, the attitude displayed by the EU in the recent past in relation to other matters did not inspire confidence that Ireland’s unique challenges on this question would be factored-in at a decisive level to the EU’s formation of policy. Mr Comer said that it was difficult to conceive of another situation where the term ‘vital national interest’ was more justified and he appealed to all our political parties and public representatives to recognise that fact and ‘get on the same page’ where this supremely important issue was concerned.
Ends 1 November 2016
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758