Special designated status needed to protect Northern Ireland agri-food sector from disastrous impact of Brexit

Sinn Féin’s Caoimhe Archibald has said securing special designated status for the North of Ireland within the European Union must be a priority to maintain the agri-food industry north and south.

Caoimhe Archibald said:

“Last week the British Secretary of State for Agriculture, George Eustice told a British parliament European Scrutiny Committee that there would likely be a ‘UK Framework’ for Agriculture policy to be implemented by the local political institutions. He stated this would be to avoid ‘market-distorting policy variations’.

“Currently the North implements the EU Common Agriculture Policy but it is generally accepted that the British Tory administration does not place the same priority on the importance of agriculture as the EU.

“Throughout the EU there are other member states whose economies, like our own, have a high dependency on agriculture.

“There must not be any removal of powers on agriculture.

“Given the importance of farming and agri-food to Ireland north and south, and the cross-border nature of the industry, greater harmonisation and cooperation of agriculture policy on an all-island basis must be pursued.

“Recently our Midlands North West MEP Matt Carthy made a formal submission to the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee on its Brexit Resolution to recognise the particular challenges presented to Irish farming by Brexit and has sought agreement that EU supports will be put in place.

“This submission is part of Sinn Féin’s coordinated campaign to achieve a special designated status for the North of Ireland within the EU and it is only by securing this status that we can cushion against the disastrous impact Brexit will have on the Agri-food industry.”

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