Attending the meeting was IFA president Joe Healy along with Livestock Chairman Mr. Angus Woods. The pair met with officials of the French Beef farmer’s Association (FNB) and COPA Beef President, Jean Pierre Fluery. The focal points of conversations being the beef industry, Brexit, CAP and trade deals.
Joe Healy, President of the IFA, spoke after the meeting of how they intend to continue working closely with their European colleagues. He said the IFA hope by doing this that they are facing Brexit with a full knowledge of all the issues facing Ireland and the agri-food sector.
Mr. Healy also said that the IFA are continuing their hard work in ensuring the Irish Government keeps the food sector and farming on top of the Brexit agenda. He spoke of how the IFA outlined the organisations key priorities for Brexit, and the maintenance of free trade with the UK as well as protecting CAP budgets.
The group of delegates also met up with Andrew Doyle TD, who is the Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture. The meeting took place on Mr. Angus Woods’ farm in co. Wicklow. As well as this there was another meeting held between the delegates and senior officials in the Department of Agriculture, Bord Bia and Meat Industry Ireland.
When discussing Brexit The COPA Beef President, Jean Pierre Fluery, said that farmers understand the lack of solutions available to them regarding Brexit would create a huge problem within the industry, he said “European farmers understand that if there is not an acceptable solution to Brexit, particularly on beef, then this will become a problem for the European beef market. We cannot allow this happen”.
During delegations, the IFA/FNB/COPA delegation also discussed the CAP and forthcoming proposals from Commissioner Hogan, as well as EU trade negotiations with Mercosur.
On CAP, IFA National Livestock Chairman, Angus Woods said it was agreed among the delegation that ensuring a strong CAP budget, with Pillar I and Pillar II payments to address the income problems in the livestock sector, are high priorities.
The delegation also agreed in their views on Mercosur. They all thought that the EU commission should cease from proceeding with negotiations on beef while the story develops with regards the beef meat scandal corruption.