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Creed hosts first All-Island Civic Dialogue for the Agri-Food Sector - €1.6m extra resources for Bord Bia on Brexit related activities

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, today hosted the first in what he intends will be a series of All-Island dialogues to discuss the implications of Brexit for the agri-food and fisheries sectors. These dialogues will build on the All-Island Civic Dialogue hosted by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs in early November, and represent an important element in the Government’s preparations to meet the broad range of All-Island challenges posed by Brexit. Today’s dialogue focused on the dairy, cattle & sheep, and pigs & poultry sector. Further dialogues will take place in relation to other sectors early in 2017.

Speaking following the event, which took place in Gormanston, Co. Meath, the Minister welcomed the very constructive engagement of all participants in what was a very wide-ranging discussion, “I would like firstly to acknowledge the very strong attendance by representatives of the sector North and South. It demonstrates not just the level of concern felt about the unique exposure of the agri-food sector to the implications of Brexit, but also the desire to explore potential solutions to the many practical difficulties that we are likely to be presented with as the process unfolds.”

The Minister highlighted that he was very much in listening mode today. A great deal of uncertainty remains as to the likely direction of events in relation to Brexit, but it is already clear that the challenge will be an enormous one. This is reflected not just in the scale of agri-food trade between North and South, but also in the extensive and highly integrated nature of the trading and other relationships that underpin the operation of the sector.

The Minister continued, “That is why it is so important to listen carefully to the views of those who will be most affected. And why I encouraged everyone today to give me their own perspectives on how the challenges might be dealt with, both by the sector itself and by government.”

The discussions covered a number of issues, including the short-term effects of the ongoing uncertainty, and the longer-term challenges posed by potential changes in the areas of tariffs and trade, regulations and standards, and border controls and certification.

The Minister also announced that since the UK referendum on Brexit, cumulative additional resources of over €1.6 million had been made available for Bord Bia programmes to support the Irish food and drink industry in 2016 and, in particular, to assist companies to ease market volatility impacts, to provide consumer and market insight, to deepen customer engagement, to extend market reach and address marketing challenges.  “Well planned Trade Missions demonstrate to potential customers our understanding of their markets and customers and our firm commitment to providing high quality food and drink products meeting the highest standards of safety and traceability and produced from sustainable resources. These measures are designed to offer early, effective and timely supports to help food companies to sustain and diversify business at a time of great uncertainty” said Minister Creed.

Concluding, the Minister emphasised the very worthwhile contribution the day’s proceedings had made to his own and to his Department’s preparations for Brexit, “I want to thank all concerned for their very positive contribution to what was a very illuminating afternoon, and to assure them once again that their concerns and ideas will be taken on board. I look forward to further engagement as the process unfolds, and to hosting the next in the series of all-island dialogues early in 2017.” 

To view this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 192/2016 (pdf 513Kb) 

 

Date Released: 16 December 2016

Distribution channels: Agriculture, Farming & Forestry