The former Chairman of Stormont’s Agriculture Committee William Irwin MLA has said he is delighted to be returned to the Assembly and looks forward to the term ahead.
Mr Irwin said the new Assembly will have a number of pressing issues to get to grips with, especially within the Agri-food sector and he added that he would play a full part in lobbying on behalf of farmers in Northern Ireland.
He stated: “I want to firstly thank the people of Newry & Armagh for electing me for a third term to represent them at the Assembly. It is a job that I take extremely seriously and I pledge to continue to ensure that the voices of our farmers and rural dwellers are heard loudly and clearly.
“As a dairy farmer I fully understand the challenges facing all our sectors at this time and as the new Assembly focuses on a Programme for Government, it is important, as our Party Leader Arlene Foster has said, that we get down to the business of governing Northern Ireland as quickly as possible.”
He said: “The financial outlook for our farmers remains concerning and that is the case across the various sectors. We need to ensure that not only do we get our government fully functioning as soon as possible but also our new department with responsibility for Agriculture must hit the ground running and work to help our industry.
“With the combining of the Environment and Agriculture departments, farmers will of course expect and indeed want to see improvements and efficiencies in terms of how the new department will operate in regards to farming and the regulations that go with it. That will be the challenge and in light of the current difficulties within agriculture time is of the essence.”