The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has said that it is becoming “increasingly obvious” that environmental and emissions policies will have to be adjusted.

A delegation from farming organisation, which is on a visit today (Thursday, June 23) to Brussels lobbying Irish MEPs on the issue, pointed to the “precarious situation around food security and food supply”.

ICMSA president, Pat McCormack said that he had found a “new awareness” amongst the politicians that it was not enough to introduce or consider curbs on farming without examining the impacts on food supply.

He said that “finally” the full implications were getting the kind of attention that should have been given to these questions five years ago.

“No-one disputes the need for progress on emissions – ICMSA certainly does not,” he commented.

“We urge everyone, whether in the EU Commission, the European Parliament, or the Irish government, to pause for a minute and begin to ‘join the dots’ on where these really punitive restrictions are going to leave us in terms of food production and feeding our populations.

“It’s just not realistic to imagine that attacking commercial farming in the way we are seeing in Ireland – and the Agri Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) announcement just this week was a perfect example – will not have a profound effect on food production in volumes and then in terms of price to consumers,” McCormack continued.

John Enright, ICMSA general secretary, Pat McCormack, ICMSA president, Billy Kelleher, MEP and Denis Drennan, ICMSA deputy president in Brussels

“No-one can say that they weren’t told; it’s a very basic sequence and ICMSA is going to insist that everyone acknowledge that they see where the present policy of attacking commercial farming is going to inevitably bring us.

“We detect a change in attitude as recent events have shown that the completely over-simplistic version of food and the environment that was unquestioningly accepted by too many is now already throwing up problems every bit as serious as the ones it was designed to solve,” he added.

The ICMSA president claimed that there is a new realisation that there will have to be a parity of consideration given to the complex issues around food supply and security.

He said that this is necessary to avoid crippling food inflation or food shortages.