‘O’Neill must prioritise industry’

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Ulster Unionist Agriculture Spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson has warned the DARD Minister that she must put her full support behind Northern Ireland’s dairy farmers.

The Upper Bann MLA has said that the ending of milk quotas now makes the Republic of Ireland a major competitor and threat to the local industry.

Mrs Dobson said: “The ending of milk quotas was a significant moment for our local dairy farmers. Whilst many are well equipped to fully compete in the new environment, I do have concerns regarding the possibility of excessive volumes of milk from neighbouring EU Member States, not least the Republic of Ireland, potentially driving our prices down further.

“The industry in Northern Ireland is already facing major challenges so a surge of milk from the Republic is the last thing our local farms need. Michelle O’Neill now more than ever needs to adopt a strong and unwavering Northern Ireland first attitude, treating the Republic of Ireland as a major competitor to our farmers and wider agri-food industry.”

Mrs Dobson continued: “The ongoing challenges in the sector once again demonstrates why the European Commission is letting farmers down by continuing to refuse to review its rate of milk price intervention.”