Creed highlights exposure of Irish beef at meeting in Brussels

The exposure of the Irish beef sector has been highlighted by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, at a Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting in Brussels yesterday (Monday, March 18).

Minister Creed said: “Yesterday’s meeting was an important opportunity to highlight to the council, the commission and to my fellow ministers, the impacts of a no-deal Brexit on the agri-food sector in Ireland and the potential knock-on effects across the EU market as a whole.”

The minister outlined the EU’s targeted support for farmers available under the Common Market Organisation and said that, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, “the full suite of measures should be deployed rapidly”.

He also referred to the need to protect the EU beef sector in trade discussions with Mercosur, against the background of the significant uncertainty arising from Brexit.

While in Brussels, Minister Creed also held bilateral meetings with three other European leaders.

Following on from meetings at official level last week, discussions on requirements for both traditional market supports and exceptional aid under the Common Market Organisation Regulation were held with the Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan.

Meeting the French Minister for Agriculture, Didier Guillaume, Minister Creed focused discussions on the landbridge issues for Irish exports and the importance of the lairage capacity at Cherbourg in maintaining live exports from Ireland.

Minister Creed engaged with the new UK Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Robert Goodwill, to reiterate the importance of the UK ratifying the withdrawal agreement to avoid the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Concluding, Minister Creed said: “I am heartened by the solidarity displayed around the council table today in relation to the threat posed by a no-deal Brexit.

“We all hope that this matter will be resolved in a sensible way in the coming days.”