Thursday 23 November 2017

You can't let us be ruined by Brexit, IFA tells EU

IFA president Joe Healy has called for protections Picture: Tom Burke
IFA president Joe Healy has called for protections Picture: Tom Burke

Chai Brady

The Irish Farmers' Association president Joe Healy said that there are three things required to protect farmers' interests in the midst of Brexit.

Mr Healy called for a close trading relationship with the UK and the EU, the value of the UK market to be maintained and that the value of the CAP must be secured.

Mr Healy was speaking at an IFA event in Kildare yesterday which focused on how Brexit will affect the Irish agricultural industry.

Several influential speakers took to the stage, with the Common Agricultural Policy, the border and the EU's future trade arrangements with the UK being hot topics.

And addressing European Commissioner Phil Hogan, he said: "You and your colleagues in the European Commission can not allow our livelihoods to be destroyed as a result of Brexit".

He also referenced the IFA's policy paper, 'Brexit: The Imperatives for the Irish Farmers & the Agri-Food Sector' published last month, which comprehensively outlines the close trade ties between Ireland and the EU.

The issues of a hard Border, particularly for farmers working at the Border, was also a matter of contention, especially in relation to livestock exports to the North, he said.

Professor of European Constitution and Economic Law Gavin Barrett said that he would have "concerns" that Theresa May could face more opposition after an election from "Tory headbangers".

He added that there was a "level of ambiguity" about her wanting to remain in the customs union, which would affect current travel arrangements between Ireland and the UK.

"She may actually come back with a bigger extremist problem with the Conservative Party. We're assuming she wants a soft Brexit, she certainly wants a softer Brexit than the more extreme members of her party. But I remain to be convinced that she wants to stay in the customs union".

European Commissioner Phil Hogan has said the UK is struggling to negotiate new international trade agreements in light of Brexit, saying it is a "reality check for the UK".

Mr Hogan welcomed the UK's upcoming election saying it will lead to a more uniform approach to Brexit. He added that he was "surprised" that some people continue to advocate for a bilateral deal between Ireland and the UK, saying it's a "non-starter".

Irish Independent

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