The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is represented in the Agriculture and Fisheries Unit of the Permanent Representation. This unit works to ensure that Irish interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU. In carrying out this work, the Unit acts as the day–to-day communication link between the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Marine, and the EU institutions, NGOs and other Brussels-based organisations.
The core work of the unit revolves around EU legislation in the following areas: Common Agriculture Policy (CAP), Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), Food Safety, Animal Health and Welfare, Plant Health, Pesticides, GMOs and Forestry.
Cross-cutting legislation in areas such as environment, climate change, finance, research and innovation, though mainly the responsibilities of other Government Departments represented in the Permanent Representation, is also pursued to ensure that our agriculture and fisheries interests are protected.
The Agriculture and Fisheries Council is the main legislative forum, in conjunction with the European Parliament and the EU Commission. Since December 2009, co-decision between the Council and European Parliament has been extended to agriculture and fisheries legislation. Accordingly, Irish MEPs and others are regularly updated by the Permanent Representation on the Government position relating to such legislation.