Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (1444)

Brendan Smith


1444. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the plans he put forward at the most recent EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in relation to the need to provide adequate assistance to the agrifood sector here due to the adverse impacts of Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36537/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The most recent EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council took place in Brussels on 15 July 2019. While Brexit was not a formal Council agenda item, I raised the issue of the threat of a negative Brexit outcome on Ireland’s agri-food sector, in particular the beef sector, during discussions on the EU-Mercosur trade item.

I have been very active in keeping my EU colleagues and the European Commission appraised of Ireland’s concerns about the impact of Brexit on our agri-food and fisheries sector. Over the last two years, I have held a series of bilateral meetings with key Member States, including the Netherlands, Germany, France, Denmark and Austria in an effort to build alliances and assess the degree to which these Member States would support our efforts to have the agri-food and fisheries impacts of Brexit specifically and adequately taken account of in the future relationship negotiations. I have also met with the Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella and I speak regularly with the Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, to press Ireland’s agri-food concerns.

I will continue to remain vigilant in pressing Ireland’s concerns at every conceivable opportunity at this critical stage of the Brexit process.