This was the message from ICMSA president, John Comer, who stated that the Irish government must declare its support for any such Brexit proposal and says this will depend on a commitment from the EU on the next CAP budget.
He says this must be conditional that the CAP budget will be at least equal to the present Budget in place.
Comer continued by saying that reports suggesting that the CAP budget will be used to make up for the UK’s economic contributions are alarming and could threaten the survival of rural Ireland.
Comer said these payments to farmers under CAP went almost directly into the wider rural economy which he said had a multiplier effect.
This he said was the single greatest economic factor ensuring the viability of massive areas of the state.
He says reductions and cuts would have a similar but negative multiplier effect that would push farming dependent businesses in food production out of business.
He says CAP has already been pin pointed as an area to take the hit with Britain’s impending exit from Europe, and said this downfall in profits would in turn be passed onto farmers, “The reports that CAP has already been identified as the area that will bear the brunt of the disappearance of the UK’s contribution would mean that the bill for Brexit will be passed to the EU’s farmers.”
He added that this will mean an exodus of people from the industry, and within the agri-food industries, “What that will mean – and no-one should be in doubt – is that the already alarming haemorrhage of people out of farming within the EU will accelerate and the corporatisation of food production within the EU will accelerate too. We will also see a massive inflation in food prices as well as food producers now have to try and recoup the losses to their already pressed incomes through hikes in price and this will have to be passed on to the consumer.”
He concluded by reaffirming the organisations stern view on the situation, “The single most important duty of the EU is providing high standard, safe, sustainable and affordable food to its population; the means of doing that is the CAP and if that budget is to be attacked then, in ICMSA’s opinion, the very fundamental reason for the EU itself is being attacked”.