‘Life-long experience in agriculture has proven vital in representing farmers at Stormont’

An assembly candidate has said his life-long experience in agriculture has ‘proven vital’ in representing farmers during his time at Stormont.

Speaking ahead of next week’s election, Newry and Armagh DUP candidate, William Irwin, described it as a “privilege” to have represented such a large rural constituency.

“It has been vital for me to ensure that the voice of the significant number of people in the constituency involved in agriculture is heard loudly and clearly within the assembly,” Mr Irwin stated.

“Serving on Stormont’s agriculture committee for 15 years has provided an important platform to make decisions that benefit the industry.”

William Irwin

He added: “Bringing the issues of importance to the fore, and dealing with problems presented to me from the agri-food sector has been a task I have relished.

“Coming from a perspective of actively farming, means that I can fully relate and bring my experience to the table.”

Mr Irwin said having his party colleague Edwin Poots as DAERA Minister, with his “direct agriculture experience” has been “very clearly a benefit to the industry”.

He continued: “Edwin’s knowledge and experience has meant that progress has been made on a whole raft of issues and, importantly, direct funding has been provided to help farmers in their efforts over Covid to provide the food and food security of supply we all required.

“Over the past term I have enjoyed a series of successes on behalf of farmers individually, collectively and for the benefit of farming representative organisations.

“My work has seen appeals resolved satisfactorily, rule changes and interpretations brought forward, such as ear tags which have been a direct benefit and lessened the burden on farmers, and important lobbying on the need for reasonable, not damaging, climate change legislation.

“I have also actively sought to be an intermediary on planning disputes, enjoying important success for applicants wishing to provide a home for a farm worker.

“If re-elected I will continue this important work for the betterment of Northern Ireland’s largest industry.

“I have the desire and resolve to continue in this role and I look forward to your support on Thursday 5 May,” Mr Irwin concluded.