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Consultation with Stakeholders

Stakeholders Consultative Committee

The Department’s Consultative Committee of Stakeholders on Brexit was established in the wake of the result of the UK Referendum in order to ensure a full exchange of information between my Department and the range of agri-food and fisheries stakeholders, as the negotiation process unfolded.  The first meeting was held in early July 2016 - within two weeks of the referendum result.

To date 11 meetings have been held, most recently on 28 February 2019. Some 31 different stakeholder groups have been represented at these meetings.

All Island Civic Dialogue Process

Stakeholder consultation also took place in the context of the All-Island Civic Dialogue, which commenced in November 2016.  Five All island sectoral meetings for the agri-food sectors took place between December 2016 and June 2017.

Focus Groups

In the early part of 2018 the Department organised a series of more focused Brexit stakeholder engagements with specific businesses who have strong trading relationship with the UK or who use it as a land bridge to Europe. The purpose of the meetings was to elicit from the selected businesses the particular ‘pinch points’ that will occur along their production and distribution chains in the event of either a ‘no deal’ Brexit or a minimal FTA. These ‘pinch points’ could relate to SPS controls, customs controls, tariffs, land bridge etc.

The majority of the meetings were held during April/May 2018.

All of these consultations help to further inform the Department’s approach to the challenges presented by Brexit for the sectors, its preparedness planning and input into the ‘Whole of Government’ framework for the future trading relationship negotiations.

The Food Wise High Level Committee discusses the issues relating to Brexit as a standing item on the committee's agenda and Department officials are also in regular contact with representatives from the sector through other channels.