The President of ICMSA met EU Agriculture Commissioner, Mr. Phil Hogan, today in Brussels to discuss the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit and the crippling effect the chaos is having on Ireland’s farming and wider agri-food sector and the financial losses being suffered by farmers.
Pat McCormack said that the whole sector had been in a state of ‘suspended amination’ for going on three years since the Referendum had put a massive question mark over our traditional markets in Britain but he was categorical that it is the primary producer – the farmer – who is taking the financial hit.
“We have been unable to make the kinds of decisions that are urgently required for a forward-planning business like farming because we just don’t know whether our multi-billion British market for beef and dairy is going to be feasible the other side of Brexit”, said Mr McCormack.
“There is a consensus now that confidence has effectively collapsed in beef and ICMSA has no doubt whatsoever that the losses suffered do come under the heading of Brexit. This is why farmer anger is growing given the complete lack of support to-date and the fact that Brexit is already damaging Irish farming”, he said.
The ICMSA President said that he had asked Commissioner Hogan to accept that fact and act immediately to publish the supports that will be available to EU farmers already suffering demonstrable Brexit-related losses.
“We’re well past the question of whether or not Brexit will cost Irish farmers money; it already has cost us money – and is continuing to do so every day”. The EU Commission and our Government need to immediately set out their supports to restore a level of confidence amongst farmers regarding their futures, concluded Mr McCormack.