ICMSA president Pat McCormack: 'Obvious Tipperary produce will be held up at ports
It’s obvious that there will be large quantities of food originating in the Tipperary farming and agri-food sector affected by the UK travel ban and this matter needs to be resolved immediately, according to ICMSA president Pat McCormack.
The Tipperary Town farmer has expressed serious concern about the delays and uncertainty applying to Tipperary and other Irish food being transported using the British landbridge to continental markets and destinations as a result of Covid-related travel bans.
Mr McCormack said that the essential nature of these products must differentiate them from other cargoes trapped in the current standstill.
Some definite conditions needed to be applied to the present situation to allow food products get to their destination quickly, he said.
“Obviously we’re cognisant of the over-riding health issues, but we do think that arrangements could - and should - be made that recognise the priority of food over other less important commodities. It seems very odd that perishable food can be trapped in tailbacks or lorry parks alongside completely non-perishables while at the same time we read that UK supermarkets are now issuing warnings about running out of this or that food," he said.
Mr McCormack said that it can’t be beyond the planning capacities of the British and the EU to prioritise and organise some kind of system that minimised the risks but still permitted our food exports to get to our EU customers and consumers.
"Since the first day of the first lockdown, we have been able to recognise the crucial role that confidence in a supply of fresh food plays in reassuring people, and it would be a real shame if we lost sight of that point now when it should be underlined more than ever," said the ICMSA president.