There is significant common ground between Ireland and the UK when it comes to getting the best possible post-Brexit deal for Irish agriculture and food, according to the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.

Interviewed on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Creed confirmed that he met his UK counterpart, Andrea Leadsom in London yesterday.

“We had a very constructive conversation,” he said.

“I impressed upon the minister our concerns regarding the UK’s intention to secure new trade deals with a range of countries around the world. This may well include the Mercosur group of countries in South America.

“Such arrangements could have major implications for the Irish beef industry.

Irish farmers and processors have invested heavily so as to ensure that the beef produced in this country meet the highest quality standards.

“This has not been the case in other beef producing regions of the world,” he said.

Creed was told by Minister Leadsom that she has already been approached by the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales on this matter.

“This is extremely reassuring to know,” he said.

“I also brought up the issue of cross- border trade, from an agri food perspective.

“Approximately one third of the milk produced in Northern Ireland is processed by LacPatrick and Lakeland in Counties Monaghan and Cavan.

“Approximately 350,000 lambs, produced in Northern Ireland are sent south for slaughter each year while a significant proportion of the pigs produced in the Republic of Ireland are processed in the North.

Essentially, we have an all-island agri food industry, the structure of which must be protected.

“I also made it clear to Minister Leadsom that the best possible Brexit deal for the agri food industry in Ireland is one that sees as much of the current trading arrangements remaining intact,” he said.

Creed also confirmed that he has met his counterpart in Northern Ireland, Michelle McIlveen, on seven occasions since her taking office in May of this year.