Irwin says working Assembly vital for agri interests

MLA William Irwin
MLA William Irwin

Newry & Armagh DUP Assemblyman William Irwin MLA has said a working Assembly is vital in a post-Brexit UK to serve Northern Ireland’s agriculture interests best.

Mr Irwin was speaking after Environment Secretary Michael Gove introduced a Bill at Westminster on shaping agriculture after leaving the EU.

Mr Irwin (pictured) said: “With the Brexit deadline closing in, it is absolutely vital that the British Government prepares the agriculture industry for life outside the European Union. This new legislation is the clearest indication yet of the direction of travel that some parts of the UK will be taking as work intensifies to replace the EU Direct Payments systems.

“This legislation will allow Northern Ireland to tailor reforms to best suit the needs of our own industry, but what we need most is to have an Assembly back functioning and a minister at their desk delivering for local farmers. Whilst the progress made in Westminster will be of significant interest to our farmers, our local agricultural industry needs a local Minister in place.”

He concluded: “Farmers are all too aware of the problems they faced inside the CAP. They know that rules set in Brussels have not been flexible enough to respond to the needs of our local industry. There is now an opportunity to work on solutions which are more appropriate for Northern Ireland and strengthen the industry going forward after we leave the European Union. That work would be best undertaken in a working Assembly.”