By Noel Dundon
The Thurles based President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Mr Jackie Cahill, this week told The Tipperary Star that he fully believes Ireland should examine all options in relation to the current economic crisis, and if that means leaving the Eurozone, then so be it.
The Thurles based President of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), Mr Jackie Cahill, this week told The Tipperary Star that he fully believes Ireland should examine all options in relation to the current economic crisis, and if that means leaving the Eurozone, then so be it. He became one of the first national figureheads to speak about on the issue despite the deep unrest throughout the land.
The Killinan dairy farmer suggested at the organisations AGM in Limerick at the weekend that an exit strategy from the Euro could well be Ireland’s best bet in a bid to kickstart the economy, get things moving again, and see the green shoots of growth finally emerge from the darkness of the recession - a reality which is sure to bite deep again in a few weeks time when the much feared Budget is announced by the Government as they bid to find in excess of three billion Euro in tax increases and cuts to meet the bailout conditions and dictats.
“I simply said that I think it would be very foolish of us not to examine all the options available to us, and one of those options is leaving the Euro. We do a hell of a lot of food trading and business with the UK, with the dollar, and with other markets, and if the Germans are going to come with very stringent and crippling conditions, then it might just be better for us to leave the Euro,” Jackie told The Tipperary Star this week.
The Thurles man will finish up at the helm of the ICMSA in three weeks time after serving three, two year terms - a total of six years. However, he is still Vice Chairman of the Irish Dairy Board and is also the new Chairman of the National Dairy Council - a role he hopes to tackle with great enthusiasm and energy.
“I won’t be going away into a corner or anything like that - I’ll still be very much involved and I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
The President, who will be replaced at the National Council of the ICMSA when the elections take place in mid December said he is happy with the level of debate his comments generated, even if Taoiseach Enda Kenny dismissed his viewpoint outright.
“I have been very happy with the level of lobbying over the last few days in relation to this issue. A lot of people have been whispering in different sectors about the need to examine all our options, but we have come out and said it straight that we need to do this. The Euro is not the be all and end all and I just feel that we would be very foolish if we did not look at every option which is available to us. Certainly exiting the Euro is one of those options,” he said.
However, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who also attended the conference, emphatically said he disagreed with Mr Cahill’s position. Mr Kenny said he believed the European leadership has all the flexibility and tools available to deal with the structural problems in the eurozone and with the Euro.
While milk and commodity prices are “ in a reasonable state” at the present time, Jackie pointed out that farming costs are “creeping up”. And, while he pointed out that he was representing the ICMSA with his comments, he added that they are applicable to the economy in general and should not be taken as just an agricultural based viewpoint.
“The economy in general could benefit hugely from us leaving the Eurozone - not just farming - and it is something that we need to sit down and examine. We are fortunate that we have a few options and we should not be shy about teasing them all out,” said Jackie whose organisation represents 25,000 farmers across the length and breadth of the country. See Page 2 for more.