Mercosur threat to Irish agriculture highlighted

IN his first meeting with the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore, IFA President John Bryan highlighted the threat posed to Irish agriculture from a Mercosur deal being pursued by the EU Commission in Brussels.

IN his first meeting with the Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore, IFA President John Bryan highlighted the threat posed to Irish agriculture from a Mercosur deal being pursued by the EU Commission in Brussels.

John Bryan said the IFA delegation, which included National Livestock Chairman Michael Doran, had a wide-ranging and constructive discussion with the Tanaiste about the contribution of the farming and food sector to the Irish economy. He said, “We emphasised to Minister Gilmore the importance of maintaining the productive base by keeping the farm schemes in place and taxation reliefs fully in place to secure the raw material for the expanding food sector.”

IFA National Livestock Chairman Michael Doran said before Mercosur negotiations proceed any further, IFA is demanding that the EU Commission undertake and publish a detailed analysis for each sector, including agriculture and specifically beef and livestock, of the economic, environmental and social impact of an EU/Mercosur deal. The IFA delegation asked the Tanaiste to write to the Commission insisting that this happens.

Michael Doran said given the importance of agriculture and beef and livestock in the Irish economy, any negative impact from a bad EU/Mercosur trade deal would seriously damage Ireland’s economic recovery and inflict major job losses at farm and industry level across rural areas.

The Tanaiste pledged to raise the concerns of the IFA delegation when he meets his counterparts at EU Council level.

He also gave an undertaking to promote Irish food on trade missions and to help advance the re-opening of vital markets.