'˜Weaker pound could boost farm incomes'

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman and member of the DAERA committee William Irwin MLA has said a weaker pound could be a boost to farm incomes following the result of the referendum on the European Union.

Mr Irwin who was a firm supporter of leaving the European Union said that farmers should remain calm following the vote to leave the EU and he believed that in the longer term farming would be “stronger outside the European Union”.

He added: “I have been involved in farming all my life and in my mind the EU has been a real burden particularly on the farmer. Red tape and bureaucracy has been the bane of the farmer and complying with directive after directive has brought added costs for the farmer to meet but worryingly added no value to farming, that has been a key concern.

“There was initial panic in the markets after the result of the referendum however within a few days confidence is being restored and the initial fear is subsiding. I would urge everyone involved in our agriculture industry to remain calm and indeed looking at the money markets, a weaker pound will actually bring benefits to our industry here in Northern Ireland,” he added.

“On the wider and more complex issue of exiting the EU, I will be working closely with our new agriculture minister Michelle McIlveen and I will be encouraging all stakeholders and agencies with responsibility to work together to get the best possible deal for our farmers.

“In recent times in my work within the Agriculture committee, I have been on many study visits both here and in other EU countries, what has always been very clear is the fact we have some of the best farmers anywhere in Europe, with some of the best growing conditions in the world, that is a huge strength for our industry.

“I believe exiting the EU represents a real opportunity to change our industry for the better and it is vitally important that the UK’s exit strategy is skilfully and calmly negotiated to ensure that we have the best possible arrangements to build our industry.”