02/17/2017 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/17/2017 09:40
17 February, 2017 - by Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has confirmed that he has made a proposal to the European Parliament's Agriculture and Rural Development Committee to organise an official mission to Ireland to examine the impact of Brexit on farming communities and the Irish agricultural sector.
'In Ireland, the agricultural sector operates on an all-island basis with animals often reared one part of the island and slaughtered on the other. Similar operations are true for the dairy sector where farmers from one side of the border bring their milk to creameries on the other.
'Studies have shown that if the EU's current tariff for imports of milk was re-established on the island of Ireland, trade north and south would almost definitely stop and cooperation of this kind would cease. This would devastate the dairy sector and farming communities who depend on this trade for their livelihood.
'Trade is not the only reality of farming life that stands to be destroyed by Brexit. The effects of Brexit will make working across the border increasingly difficult for farmers who may now be subject to customs controls (rules of origin checks, import licence requirements, documentation, physical border checks) as well as the costs of two different regulatory regimes.
'Despite the people of the North of Ireland voting to remain in the EU, they currently face the prospect of withdrawal of direct payments that make up 87% of their annual farm income, as well as the breakdown of longstanding trading relationships, business relationships and legislative harmonisation.
'The mission I have proposed this week would bring a cross-party delegation of MEPs from all over the EU to examine these issues in detail. In the run-up to Brexit negotiations, it is of vital importance that MEPs of all political backgrounds and nationalities are aware of the difficulties faced by Irish farmers.
'Securing a Designated Special Status for the North within the EU is the priority of Sinn Féin during this negotiation period and it is my hope that this mission will help gather the necessary support within the European Parliament as well as draw attention to the all-island realities of the agriculture sector.
'I will be reaching out to MEPs across all political groups in the coming weeks to gather support for this Mission to proceed.'