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IFA President Joe Healy has said the findings of a report published today by Minister Heather Humphreys, examining the impact of Brexit on Ireland’s trade and economy, are very stark for farming and food in Ireland. The IFA President said, "We are not surprised to see that our sector faces such a catastrophic outcome in the event of a hard Brexit. The severe impact across the board is something IFA has raised at all political levels since before the referendum.” Joe Healy said this warning should serve to refocus Government efforts towards securing an outcome that avoids this bleak scenario for our largest indigenous sector.
Speaking ahead of a national public consultation on the future of the CAP on Tuesday evening (13th February) at the Newgrange Hotel, Navan hosted by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, Mairead McGuinness said the move away from historic payments will continue but the debate about how to target support and link payments to environmental delivery is now to the fore.
“Naturally the concern of the farming community is that the budget for the CAP is not eroded, leaving less money to support farming and our rural regions.this is a debate that I am fully involved in and I welcome comments made by EU Commission President Juncker that he will fight a full attack on the CAP budget. “The budget battle is not won, so we must watch very closely and work with member states to ensure that agriculture is not targeted for unjustified cuts,” she warned.
Minister Creed Announces Selection of 19 Projects for the Next Phase of the European Innovation Partnerships Initiative
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D., today announced the results of the second Open Call competitive process to select proposals to proceed to Round 2 of the European Innovation Partnerships Initiative (EIP). A total of 19 projects were successfully shortlisted to move to the next stage of the process.
The Minister commented “I am delighted to see the EIP progressing to this next phase which provides an important opportunity to respond to challenges in our sector in a new way. The proposals received in response to this call are of a very high quality and a clear indication that the EIP initiative is recognised in the rural economy as a very useful approach to addressing challenges in a collaborative and innovative way. The Minister added “The 19 projects which have been selected to progress to the next phase will now be funded to develop a detailed project plan for their projects. A number of these proposals will then be selected to move forward to the full implementation phase. ”
Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group that represents the food sector, today welcomed the publication by Minster Catherine Byrne of new Codes of Practice for the advertising and marketing of food and non-alcoholic drinks. Paul Kelly, FDI Director said: “Food and beverage companies are committed to responsible marketing and supporting the implementation of related recommendations in A Healthy Weight for Ireland: Obesity Policy and Action Plan 2016 – 2025. The focus now has to be on effective implementation”. Mr. Kelly called on the Minister to quickly bring together the key participants to develop the promised technical guidance document that advertisers, rights owners, media outlets and advertising practitioners now need to bring the Voluntary Codes of Practice to life.
Inspections of heavily pregnant sheep must stop – Martin Kenny TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Kenny TD has called on Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed to put a stop to sheep inspections at this time of year when sheep are heavily pregnant and the risk of sheep aborting from the stress of being penned up for inspection is very high. “I have being contacted by angry farmers who have being selected for sheep inspections and are being forced to gather all there sheep both on lowlands and the mountains and pen them up for the Department to inspect them..,Surely, the Minister and his Departmental officials know that we are heading into lambing season and sheep are heavily pregnant and vulnerable at this time of year." he said.
“It is recognised that stress to sheep is a major cause of sheep aborting lambs and also causes difficulties and complications during the lambing process.
“As we are all aware, we have had severe weather over the last number of weeks with a lot of snow on mountains especially. This is causing farmers problems in battling inclement weather conditions in order to gather sheep of the mountains with some farmers only getting a couple of days notice to have their sheep gathered. “I understand that farm inspections are part of the Department’s remit, but now is not the time to be inspecting heavily pregnant sheep. The Minister and his Department must use some common sense and stop these inspections until lambing season is over.”
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock has welcomed the announcement by Minister Creed regarding the allocation of €25m in additional ANC funding announced in Budget 2018. “ICSA is pleased to see some certainty regarding this additional money and is broadly supportive of a strategy to favour farmers facing the biggest challenges.”
Mr Sherlock added that the reform of the ANC scheme on biophysical criteria would likely mean that the decision on the €25 million was only a stop gap measure. “The challenge now is to look at the ANC reform for 2019 and to think about this in terms of a new CAP post 2020. This will be the real debate. ICSA wants to see the ANC deliver more money to the most disadvantaged farmers, particularly low income cattle and sheep farmers. The future ANC should take account of the huge challenge posed to farmers on heavy land where rainfall patterns are getting worse and winter feeding periods are longer and longer.”