Creed to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in UK ahead of crucial Brexit talks

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed is optimistic on a more “business-like” solution  regarding Brexit and its impact on Irish agriculture, ahead of his planned St. Patrick’s Day trip to the UK.

It has been confirmed that Minister Creed and Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture Andrew Doyle will be among more than 30 Irish government representatives to travel abroad on St. Patrick’s Day this year to improve international relations.

Minister Creed will be travelling to the UK – a crucial destination in light of Brexit – while Minister Doyle will spend the day in Vietnam, another important location with a promising market for international trade.

During the festivities Minister Creed will focus on defending and building Ireland’s market position in the UK.

‘Reasonable grounds for optimism’

Speaking at the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday, Creed said: “There are reasonable grounds for optimism now that we can get a more business-like solution to [Brexit].

The minister noted that during negotiations in phase one of the Brexit talks, the Irish government had achieved the objectives set out beforehand. However, he acknowledged that there is a long way to go in discussions yet.

I’m very conscious of the fact that it is not over until it’s over. The next phase, in terms of the future relationship and the trading relationship in particular, will be of huge concern to us.

“Our ask – unapologetically – is that we would have continued tariff-free access to the UK market; that we would be protected from the consequences of UK trade agreements with third countries; and this whole issue of regulatory alignment is something we are all becoming much more familiar with,” Minister Creed said.

“That is the key issue in terms of protecting our exports and the standards that we produce to in the context of competition from other countries.

“I think there is going to be a lot to play for; it’s going to take a lot of political effort, technical effort and diplomatic effort – but, I am reassured by the solidarity that was extended to us. I was particularly reassured by virtue of the fact that increasingly in the UK now we see a business voice being heard.

I am also reassured by the fact that in phase two negotiations there will be a specific Irish strand.

Concluding the minister ended on a cautious but positive note: “I am – by nature – optimistic and in the context of Brexit I think there is some reason for optimism, though no reason or room for complacency.”