4 AUGUST 2016
ICSA president Patrick Kent has appealed to farmers not to be influenced by efforts to create a panic around the Brexit decision at a meeting held by Donegal ICSA in conjunction with Donegal Beef Producers Group in the Mount Errigal Hotel in Letterkenny on Friday last, 29 July.
“We cannot predict all the ramifications of Brexit for farming at this point. However, we must avoid scaremongering; sterling has not collapsed but sensationalism surrounding the exchange rates and markets is being used by factories to put pressure on price.”
The truth is that sterling has not collapsed; it has slipped by 7-8% against the euro. Sensationalism about a 31 year low for sterling is heard repeatedly from so-called experts and commentators who seem unaware that this only applies to the sterling / US dollar exchange rate.
The current rate of sterling at about €1.19 is not out of the ordinary when we look at trends over the past five years. In fact, a rate of €1.19 is similar or lower than the exchange rate that prevailed in much of 2013. Farmers will recall that beef price for R3 steers averaged €4.40 in June 2013.
Mr Kent went on to say that Ireland would have to work very hard to ensure its interests were kept centre stage in the EU/ Brexit talks. “We cannot afford to have a bad trade deal with the UK where tariffs are imposed on our beef exports. However, it also time to reconsider the Mercosur and TTIP trade deals and all talks should be postponed until we have the terms of the EU/ UK deal worked out.”
He also suggested that we need more focus on new live export markets because it was bad to be too dependent on selling beef to the UK.
Concluding, Mr Kent said Ireland needs to emphasise that Brexit serves as a wake up call for Europe. “The EU needs to listen carefully to the interests of each member state and its strategy on trade deals with the UK and others needs to be based on a much deeper understanding of the concerns of ordinary citizens.”
The meeting which was chaired by ICSA Donegal chairman Malcolm Thompson was attended by over 150 farmers and business people from the region. Other speakers included Stuart Agnew MEP (UKIP Spokesperson on Agriculture), Luke Ming Flanagan MEP, Martina Anderson MEP, Michael Fitzmaurice TD.
ICSA Donegal chairman Malcolm Thompsons said, “Due to the high calibre of speakers, many attendees have been inspired to think more broadly about the issues at hand.”