The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has welcomed the Brexit deal announced earlier this morning, but has cautioned that there is still a long way to go before negotiations are complete.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker has said “sufficient progress” has been made on Brexit talks that will “pave the way for talks on the future UK-EU relationship”.

The UK and the EU have agreed that will be “no hard border” between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Commenting on the matter, IFA president Joe Healy said: “The IFA welcomes this move certainly, and wants the least amount of obstacles between Ireland and the UK as possible for trade.”

“There’s still an awful lot of work to be done,” the president warned, however.

“Like getting through to an All Ireland final, it’s going to get a lot harder from here on out, but none the less, we’re past the semifinal stage now.

It’s a very important step forward and helps bring a small bit more certainty to everyone because the uncertainty over the past 18 months has been one of the biggest issues.

Healy said it was an important outcome for the farming and food sector here and has the potential to be helpful in resolving a number of the challenges that Brexit posed for the sector.

In particular, he said the text that the UK will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union’ is significant in that it deals with the EU-UK relationship in its entirety.

Healy also noted the commitment to “protecting North-South cooperation” and that the deal “will ensure no regulatory barriers develop between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom”.

The IFA president acknowledged the work done by the Irish Government on behalf of farmers and he urged them to maintain that focus in the next phase of the discussions. The transition and the final deal on trade will be crucial.