IFA calls for Yes vote

IFA in Roscommon is calling on farmers and their families to vote Yes in next week’s Lisbon Treaty Referendum, after a meeting of the National Council on Tuesday last. The meeting in Dublin followed a commitment from Taoiseach Brian Cowen to use the veto in Europe if a deal on World Trade reform that is unacceptable to Ireland is put to a vote. Prior to Tuesday, the Government had consistently stopped short of agreeing to use a veto and IFA had threatened not to support the Lisbon referendum if the Government did not indicate that they would use the veto if there was an unfavourable WTO deal for Ireland. A meeting of the IFA’s National Council called to decide what voting advice to give farmers, was held up for over two hours on Tuesday morning as the IFA leader Padraig Walshe held discussions with the Taoiseach and senior civil servants. At lunchtime on Tuesday, the Taoiseach said he was prepared to use the veto and the IFA National Executive later unanimously called for a Yes vote and Padraig Walshe said he was glad to get the Taoiseach’s reassurance. Speaking to Roscommon People on Wednesday, IFA Development Officer Adrian Leddy said, ‘The whole situation from a farming point of view in relation to the Lisbon Treaty was that IFA’s concern was mainly in relation to the WTO Talks and we probably got dragged into the Lisbon Treaty in a way. ‘Yesterday’s IFA National Council meeting would have cleared the way for farmers in Roscommon to vote Yes in the Lisbon Treaty. IFA got assurances from the Taoiseach Brian Cowen that we had been looking for in relation to using the veto. I suppose this is it, from here on IFA will continue to campaign in relation to the WTO and we won’t take our eye off the ball on this issue even after the 12th of June. Asked about the timeframe for the WTO Talks, Mr. Leddy said that no set timeframe was available but it was expected that the talks could run into the first week in July. ‘All we really are happy about is that we have got the assurance from Taoiseach Brian Cowen he has made it quite clear that the Government is prepared to use the veto if a deal that is unacceptable to Ireland is put to a vote.’