Speaking today at the Virginia Agricultural Show, the President of ICMSA said that any individual attending the dynamic show will see the importance of the Agri-food sector to the northern half of the country and the absolute requirement for a positive Brexit agreement that protects industries and communities in the Border region.
“We’ve about eighteen months to go to Brexit and, bluntly, we are as unclear today as we were the day after the Referendum result was announced with the resultant anxiety around Brexit being felt in every parish both south and north of the border. The presence today at the Virginia show of farmers and their families, input suppliers and contractors, as well as milk and beef processors, illustrates very vividly the massive reach of the agri-food sector and it must remind every politician – whether south, north, UK or EU – of the scale of damage that could be done to rural industries and to farm families in every corner of Ireland, but most particularly in the northern half of the country and along the Border regions”, said Mr. Comer.
Mr. Comer said that ICMSA wants to see concrete actions put in place at national and EU level that can be activated to protect farm families and the wider agri-food sector from a political decision completely outside their control and which can address the new reality. This series of concrete actions must begin with Budget 2018 which should focus strongly on Brexit and include specific measures that will enable farmers to plan for even more pronounced volatility issues. He said that ICMSA has proposed the Farm Management Deposit Scheme as a model to address the kind of wholly destructive income volatility that is already a part of modern farming and certainly some suitable response will have to be delivered in Budget 2018.
“The position has not changed and Ireland’s farming interests have not changed – we need an adequately funded CAP to maintain existing payment levels post 2020 while a free trade agreement with zero tariffs must be secured with no physical border between north and south. These are the two critical issues and we desperately need some clarifications on both as soon as possible to provide the sector with a level of certainty and confidence and to stimulate investment”, said Mr. Comer.
23 August 2017.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press office