A Fianna Fáil Agriculture delegation held a series of high level meetings with senior representatives from the various European institutions in Brussels last week.

Party Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food Charlie McConalogue as well as Spokesperson on Food & Horticulture, Jackie Cahill met with representatives from the European Commission, European Parliament, Council of the EU and farming organisations to discuss the impact of Brexit and other issues facing the agriculture sector.

The Fianna Fáil delegation held discussions with senior members of Commissioner Hogan’s Cabinet, ALDE MEP Jan Huitema (coordinator on the EP’s Agri committee); senior officials from the Permanent Representation of Ireland to the EU and DG AGRI, as well as IFA President Joe Healy.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “These meetings were very timely in light of the announcement by the Commission that a Communication on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post-2020 will be published in 2017.

“We emphasised the importance of CAP funding and direct payments to Irish farmers, which are key to sustaining rural communities and employment levels. CAP has a key role to play in meeting global demographic challenges and ensure that the primary producer continues to farm the land, maintain their rural enterprise and generational renewal”.

Deputy Cahill added, “There are a range of threats to the Irish agriculture sector coming down the road, which need to be addressed not only at home, but also with the help of our European counterparts.  Brexit is one of the most serious challenges facing us and our special relationship with the UK must be acknowledged and protected.  We also held talks on the current review of ANCs, unfair trading practices & legislative moves at European level, EU trade deals as well as schemes under the Rural Development Programme.

“These discussions were very productive and we hope to meet again to discuss these issues in the near future”.