Speaking following a meeting with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Mr. Michael Creed, the President of ICMSA, Mr. John Comer said that with just over 18 months to go to when Brexit will be a reality, concrete actions are now required to prepare vulnerable sectors for the challenges of Brexit and there is no sector more vulnerable than the Agri-food sector.
There is a level of concern and frustration growing, Mr Comer said, that there is meeting after meeting in relation to Brexit but no definite actions have been put in place to counteract the threats of Brexit. In this regard, the reality is that primary producers at the end of the supply chain will bear the brunt of any impact and ICMSA made a number of proposals to the Minister in the context of Budget 2018 to provide real supports and protections to primary producers in advance of Brexit.
Such measures are required immediately so that farm businesses can plan and put in place contingency funding to counter the Brexit threat and we also need to see supports at processing level so that decisions can be taken to lessen the impact of Brexit. In addition, the sudden drive by the EU to conclude trade deals in the context of WTO and Mercusor is a major concern heightened by Brexit and Ireland must stand up along with like-minded Member States and call a halt to these potentially hugely damaging trade deals. Mercusor has the potential to do huge damage to our beef sector and this cannot be allowed to happen.
At the meeting, Mr. Comer said, ICMSA also addressed concerns in relation to payment delays for the various farm schemes, inspections and the threat of a ban on the splash plate along with the need to develop and support the live export trade given the hugely positive impact it has had on cattle prices this year. There are ongoing issues with schemes with the latest being the KT scheme and there simply has to be a root and branch review of the systems in place to ensure that schemes run more efficiently and that payments are made on time, concluded Mr. Comer.
Ends 26 July 2017
John Comer, (087) 2057846
ICMSA Office (061) 314677.