IFA president Tim Cullinan has welcomed the six-month extension by the UK in the introduction of new import controls on agri-food and other products from Ireland and other EU countries, saying “the announcement provides a major breathing space for Irish agri-food exporters who are preparing for the new requirements.”
Cullinan said: “This six-month extension provides much-needed market stability over the coming months and will be welcomed by farmers and processors alike.”
In the absence of this extension, exporters were facing a substantial ramping up of the regulatory burden on trade from 1 April, with new Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) controls on virtually all food exports to Britain involving the Department of Agriculture issuing of an additional 5,000 health certificates per week, which represents a ten-fold increase.
These controls will not now apply until 1 October, which gives exporters six months extra to meet the new requirements. The IFA president welcomed the news, which came as he addressed the Northern Ireland Committee of the House of Commons.
It’s vitally important in maintaining the all-island economy in the agri-food sector
At the meeting, MPs recognised the high quality of Irish food on the British market, particularly Irish beef, and the need to maintain the highest food standards on the UK market.In his address, Cullinan emphasised that the Northern Ireland Protocol was extremely important to Irish farmers in maintaining the free flow of live animals and agricultural products across the Ireland/Northern Ireland border.
“It’s vitally important in maintaining the all-island economy in the agri-food sector, which is particularly integrated in the border counties across all farming sectors,” he said.
Reacting to the Department of Agriculture’s launch of its re-worked sheep worrying TV ad from the 1980s, IFA sheep chair Sean Dennehy said that while it is a welcome first step, the Minister for Agriculture must provide funding to drive awareness of the advert.
He said: “IFA has been campaigning to #BringBackBonzo since 2019. The new advert is excellent, but it’s disappointing that there’s no reference to a budget to ensure that the public will see the advert.”
While we all know viewing habits have changed, at the very least we would expect a budget for an effective digital media campaign
“It’s the equivalent of giving someone a brand new car with an empty tank of petrol, which is pointless.”
The original TV advert, which ran in the 1980s, was shown on primetime television.
“While we all know viewing habits have changed, at the very least we would expect a budget for an effective digital media campaign. I would appeal to the minister not to waste the good work already done in restoring this ad. He must fund this campaign to ensure it has impact,” he said.
Dennehy said the lack of ambition around the revamped ad is indicative of the overall approach towards dog attacks: “We need serious resources and effective enforcement if we are going to tackle this issue,” he added.