Irwin hosts Shadow Defra minister

William Irwin MLA with Dr David Drew MP on a visit to Wright's farm, near Tandragee
William Irwin MLA with Dr David Drew MP on a visit to Wright's farm, near Tandragee

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has hosted a farm visit by David Drew MP.

Mr Irwin hosted David Drew MP at the Wright’s farm near Tandragee to talk about a range of important issues including Brexit, the UK Agriculture Bill and future trade.

Mr Irwin said: “David is the Labour Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Given this role, I welcomed his visit to Northern Ireland to talk to those at the coal face.

“This was an opportunity to get the views of a mixed farming enterprise which also diversified into adding value to their milk through the award winning Ballylisk of Armagh cheese brand. This is a real success story for Northern Ireland agri - food sector, which punches well above its weight. This was evident to Mr Drew.

“In relation to Brexit, I made clear the importance of the Great Britain market for Northern Ireland agriculture and the need for a sensible Brexit agreement which does not allow the carving off NI from the rest of the UK.

“We both agreed that the current Agriculture Bill does not go far enough to support productive agriculture which is the basis of a vibrant economy, environment and rural areas.”

He concluded: “Profitability for the primary producer is vital and the Government unfortunately has got that balance, I believe, wrong. Future trading arrangements in respect of imports is a key concern which Labour must back.

“Food entering the UK should be of the same standard as what we expect our farmers to adhere to. Anything else would create an unfair playing field for our hard working farmers.”