Farm Ireland

Monday 11 December 2017

Farm bodies back Yes campaign

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

The farm representative bodies have all weighed in strongly on the side of the Yes campaign in the upcoming fiscal treaty referendum, with the ICMSA and ICSA joining the IFA and Macra in supporting the Government's position.

However, a new group called Farmers Say No, which has called for a No vote in the referendum, has stood by its assertion that the main farm organisations are blindly following the Government line on the Fiscal Compact.

Launching the ICMSA's referendum campaign, association president John Comer insisted that any sensible examination of Ireland's options on the issue could only result in a recommendation for a Yes vote.

"We may not like the difficult economic position we are in and we may have different views regarding the cause and solution to the economic crisis, but any rational examination of the facts -- and any likely unfolding scenarios -- will quickly tell you that it is in our best interest to vote Yes in the upcoming referendum," said Mr Comer.


Confirming that the ICMSA's national council had "unanimously endorsed" a recommendation to support a Yes vote, Mr Comer said he was asking farmers and anyone involved in the agri-food sector not to listen to what he called "siren voices" who were urging people to indulge in a massive gamble with the state's already precarious finances.

"A No vote could very well set in train a chain reaction that would be very negative for business in Ireland -- particularly for the export dependant sectors," Mr Comer said.

That view was supported by ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin, who said stability was now of premium importance for Ireland.

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"From a farming point of view, instability will further set back important decisions on CAP reform and a decision on the EU budget for the 2014-2020 period," Mr Gilmartin said.

"While an EU growth strategy is now urgent, a No vote will lead to further instability.

"Furthermore, a No vote will not advance a growth strategy by one day; it may well set back decisive action in the chaos that might ensue," he added.


But launching the Farmers Say No campaign last week, David Thompson accused the Government of trying to frighten people into a Yes vote.

Mr Thompson, who is a former Limerick IFA county chairman and ex-president of the Agricultural Science Association, said a continuation of austerity would hit demand for food and would result in the CAP budget being targeted for cuts.

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