Northern Ireland farmers deliver messages on Brexit, free trade and legislation on farmgate prices to the Head of the EC Office

Farmers For Action and the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NI Farm Groups) met the Head of the European Commission Office in Northern Ireland in Belfast, Mrs Colette FitzGerald.

They delivered three clear messages on:

  • Brexit,
  • Free trade deals
  • and legislation on farm gate prices.


The two organisations put the case to the EU Commission representative that come what may there must be no North South border, such are the fears of all concerned of where that could lead.

Northern Ireland as a whole has gone forward in leaps and bounds since the Good Friday agreement with much more possible – a border would be a massive step back in time and progress that must never be allowed to happen!

Free Trade deals

The EU currently putting in a huge effort into Mercosur and other major world trade deals and the current UK Government is preparing free trade deals around the world in order to be sign ready the day after it leaves the EU!

NI Farm Groups forcefully pointed out to Colette FitzGerald that neither the EU nor the current Westminster Government should complete free trade deals where commonly produced staples – by current or potential new free trade deals – end up in food swaps – ie ships passing in the night between two trading countries carrying the same food cargo – as this makes a complete nonsense of the Paris climate change agreement and those who participated. (Note the detailed food swap report by then MEP Caroline Lucas: Stopping the Great Food Swap – relocalising Europe’s food supply).

Certainly the farmers at either end of these food swaps are suffering financially, while the food corporates, facilitated by Governments and the EU, continue to throw caring for the planet to the wind and fill their pockets!  The Groups made clear that such is the increasing control of the corporate foodgiants across the EU and the UK that when and if we eventually leave the EU that legislation is still needed for NI if it is to succeed and prosper in a manner befitting the 21st century!

William Taylor (FFA, NI) says that the message is clear, either the Paris climate change agreement is nonsense or the current and future planned free trade deals are nonsense.

On the case for legislation on farmgate prices NI Farm Groups made it clear, that whether we eventually leave the EU or not, currently the EU is not delivering on its treaty promises that rural dwellers should be properly rewarded for their work. In short, when the market is not working, there is a case for state intervention and NI Farm Groups have a legislation bill complete and ready for Stormont immediately it returns!

Colette FitzGerald, in her role as the bridge between the EU and NI EU citizens, sought to clarify the EU’s approach to the Brexit Article 50 negotiations and the timetable ahead:

  • Michel Barnier and his team will work through August to again meet David Davis and his team on the 28th August.
  • Mr Barnier will then prepare a report on the state of negotiations for the next meeting of the European Council (Heads of State) in October 2017.
  • At this point the Member States will judge whether enough progress has been made on the ‘divorce’ settlement to begin to plan discussions on the UK’s future relationship with the EU after Brexit.
  • The eventual Brexit deal must be completed by end March 2019 although in practice, it would need to be done months earlier to allow individual Member States to ratify it so that means time is pressing for the actual negotiations.
  • No one Member State can veto any final deal as it can be approved by a majority of Member States representing at least 65% of EU citizens.
  • The European Parliament will also have a vote.

Any extension to this March 2019 deadline is only possible if all the EU27 agree to do so.

Colette FitzGerald explained that an important part of her role is to make regular, indeed daily reports to Brussels and would include Northern Ireland Farm Groups three extremely important issues. Our Voice is being heard!

Contact: William Taylor


NI Farm Groups

56 Cashel Road, Macosquin, Coleraine, BT51 4NU

Tel. 028 703 43419 / 07909744624 Email






Posted on August 7, 2017, in uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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