Beef fund draft regulation ‘not for negotiation with Ireland’

It has been outlined that, while member states will be invited to give an opinion on the draft regulations of the €100 million beef fund, it is “not for negotiation with Ireland or other member states”.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, confirmed the status of the draft regulation in response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith.

Continuing, Minister Creed said: “The exceptional aid provision will be given effect through a Commission Implementing Regulation.

“Member states will be invited to give an opinion on the draft regulation through the commission’s Common Market Organisation Management Committee.

The draft regulation is within the commission’s own legal competence, and is not for negotiation with Ireland or indeed other member states, in terms of its content.

Minister Creed noted that he has “ongoing discussions” with Phil Hogan, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, regarding the potential impact of a disorderly Brexit.

“I have stressed the need for the commission to be ready to deploy a range of measures to mitigate the potential impacts on the agri-food and fisheries sector.

“Avoiding a no-deal Brexit continues to be the Government’s overriding policy priority.

I am also keenly aware that the past few months have been very difficult for beef farmers in particular, following a difficult year for farm incomes in 2018 due to weather conditions.

“There has been a prolonged and exceptional period of depressed prices since last autumn, with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit, among other factors, contributing to this market disturbance.”

Concluding, Minister Creed outlined that further details on the aid package will be announced “in due course following the appropriate stakeholder consultation”.