The position is as Deputy Ferris outlined. The precise words which Commissioner Fischler used in Dublin were that these proposals were not cut in stone and, therefore, there was room for negotiation.
It is envisaged that the negotiations will take place throughout this calendar year. I have established consultative groups of the main farming organisations, the participants in consensus 2000, and people from Teagasc and the universities, to go through in detail the beef, dairy, cereals and other sectors affected by the proposals and present to me in good time detailed position papers on the matters to which the Deputy refers.
Agriculture is uniquely important to Ireland. The beef and dairy sectors make up a considerable portion of the overall industry, and then there are sectors of the industry, such as sheep and pigs, which are left out of the proposals altogether. I want to make sure that the model of negotiations which we put forward will have the best possible result for Ireland and ensure the most equitable distribution of the support for agriculture for the next five or six years.