The publication of the EU’s Draft Guidelines responding to the UK’s triggering of Article 50 has been described as encouraging and positive by the president of ICMSA, John Comer.
He said that it certainly appeared as if cognisance had been taken of several points raised by Ireland with respect to our unique relationship with the UK.
There also appeared to be recognition of certain issues pertaining to free trade agreements concluded previous to the UK invoking Article 50 and that state’s responsibility for taking some of the quotas agreed at that stage.
Meanwhile, IFA president Joe Healy attended a meeting of UK farm leaders hosted by the Ulster Farmers’ Union in County Down to discuss the implications of Brexit and to co-ordinate the approach of farm leaders to the negotiations.
At the gathering, Mr Healy set out the key priorities for farming and food in the IFA policy paper Brexit: The Imperatives for Irish Farmers & the Agri-Food Sector.
IFA wants to maintain the closest possible trading relationship between the UK and EU, while preserving the value of the UK market; and a strong CAP budget following the UK’s departure, which is critical for farm incomes, farm output and economic activity in rural Ireland, he said.
The triggering of Article 50 begins a process that could have profound consequences for Irish agriculture, according to Irish Cattle and Sheep Association president Patrick Kent.
Mr Kent has called on the Government to take a very resolute stance with the EU in order to ensure that Irish interests are protected.
“The Government must ensure that the guidelines given to Michel Barnier make tariff-free trade between Ireland and the UK a line in the sand. The Taoiseach cannot compromise on this with the other EU leaders," he said.
"Irish agriculture did not cause Brexit. It cannot be the loser from it,” he said.