UFU to host major open EU referendum debate

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The Ulster Farmers’ Union has confirmed details of its EU Referendum debate on the Leave and Remain arguments for Northern Ireland agriculture. This will take place at the Eikon complex at Balmoral Park on Tuesday 7 June at 8.00pm.

UFU president, Barclay Bell, said this was a timely opportunity, two weeks before the vote, to address the concerns local farmers still had about the future for the agrifood industry in Northern Ireland.

“As a Union we are not advising our members how to vote. We have said that in the absence of no compelling reason to leave, we see remaining as the safer option – but from the outset we have said our 12,000 plus members and their families will make up their own minds how to vote. This debate is wider than agriculture and it is our aim to create an opportunity for people to have their questions answered, before they finally cast their vote in what will almost certainly be a once in a generation referendum opportunity,” said Mr Bell.

The speaker for the Leave campaign will be the former, DEFRA minister, Owen Paterson, who is a long-time critic of the EU. The Remain campaign will also provide a speaker, although it has yet to confirm who it will be.

“We are not picking the speakers. We are facilitating an industry debate, and have asked both of the official campaigning groups to nominate speakers,” said Barclay Bell.