ICSA Says YES

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) has come out in favour of a yes vote in the forthcoming Referendum on the Fiscal Treaty (Treaty on Stability Co-ordination and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union). 

ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin said that, “there are no easy solutions to the economic crisis and to pretend otherwise is not living in the real world.  While an EU growth strategy is now urgent, a No vote will lead to further instability.  Furthermore, a No vote will not advance a growth strategy by one day, it may well set back decisive action in the chaos that might ensue. 

On balance, stability is now of premium importance for Ireland, especially when you see what is going on in Greece.  From a farming point of view, instability will further set back important decisions on CAP reform and a decision on the EU budget for the 2014-2020 period.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the ICSA’s National Executive yesterday evening (Thursday), which was addressed by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Mr Simon Coveney, TD and Professor Anthony Coughlan.  Mr Gilmartin emphasised that ICSA put huge importance on allowing its National Executive to come to a democratic decision having had access to as much information as possible and having had the chance to weigh up both sides of the argument. 

“The ICSA decision is not an auto-pilot reaction, rather it is the considered outcome of a process of deliberation and debate.  For that reason, we can recommend the Yes vote to farmers, even though there are no certainties regarding the future of the European or Irish economies and it is clear that there are no silver bullet solutions.” 

“The farming and agri-food sector is currently Ireland’s best performing industry, accounting for almost 10% of all employment in Ireland and contributing €24 billion to the economy.  A Yes vote will provide certainty and support so that the sector can continue to thrive and lead the country back to growth.  Among other benefits, it will put Ireland in the strongest position to secure the best possible deal in the CAP reform negotiations, for the benefit of all producers and consumers in the coming years.”

Mr. Gilmartin is urging all farmers and those involved in the food sector to vote Yes: “A careful and responsible analysis of the options means that voting Yes is the better choice in a situation where there are no easy answers.”