ICMSA president Pat McCormack
Time is running out on any Brexit deal, the leader of the ICMSA has warned.
And Pat McCormack has also raised what he termed “the very specific threat” made to Irish farming and agri-food last week by a prominent Conservative Brexiteer.
The Tipperary farmer was speaking during the All Island Dialogue on Brexit conference in Dundalk.
Irish farmers and the wider agri-food sector were appreciative of the commitment demonstrated by the Commission to securing a Brexit deal that allowed the all-Island approach to our farming and agri-food sectors to continue, he said.
But he noted that the clock was ticking and we actually were no closer to knowing for certain what the situation would be by the deadline next March.
Mr McCormack said that despite all the assurances and guarantees – welcome though they were – we still did not know what would happen “the morning after” and anxiety was growing apace in the farming and agri-food sectors and right across the economic board.
Mr McCormack was also critical of what he termed was the “very specific threat” made to our beef exports by the prominent Conservative MP Jacob Rees Mogg.
Last week, Mr Rees Mogg stated that tariffs could be placed on Irish beef exports that would place the Irish agricultural industry in what the Brexiteer MP termed “serious trouble”.
The ICMSA president said that it was difficult not to conclude that the thrust of the MP’s remarks was that the centuries old food trade between Ireland and Britain should now be seen as a hostage to be held against the kind of extreme Brexit favoured by Mr Rees Mogg and his faction.
Mr McCormack said that the European Council to be held in June must now concentrate on setting forth the kind of hard details that would permit some degree of the planning necessary