Referendum debate is becoming clearer - FFA

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William Taylor, Northern Ireland co-ordinator of Farmers For Action (FFA), claims the Referendum picture is now becoming clearer, after last week’s Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers Association (NIAPA) and FFA Open Meeting at Dunsilly with the local MEPs.

Around 40 farmers turned out to hear the views of the local MEPs ahead of next Thursday’s EU referendum.

In a statement Mr Taylor said Northern Ireland is moving in the direction of legislation on farm gate prices to deliver a minimum of the cost of production plus a margin inflation linked safety net across the staples.

“This safety net has been consistently promised to EU farming families but never delivered, thus our legal route with this legislation all the way to Brussels,” he added.

“We fear we do not have the same legal route to Westminster for legislation on farm gate prices nor have the out camp even mentioned such a promise to deliver such a package, yet on the 24th June 2016 it will be business as usual for the food corporates, while the UK’s family farmers battle the worst farming financial depression in history.”

Mr Taylor said that if the UK votes ‘in’ there is a legal path for legislation on farm gate prices to Brussels which Northern Ireland can use and a united states of Europe to automatically trade with in the simplest of terms.

He added: “If we vote OUT on 24/6/16 there will be approximately a two year transition period for us to have farm gate price legislation in place and nailed down, we hope?

“In or Out on the 24 June FFA will pledge to work tirelessly equally with NIAPA and any other rural support available to deliver the safety net of legislation on farm gate prices.

“Remember on June 24 if remaining IN, the EU’s hierarchy will have received a near bloody nose from the UK’s people of Europe and as such a warning of the still very possible disintegration of the EU if they don’t deliver fairness and prosperity to the people of rural Europe and others, over and above the lobbying of the corporates including the bankers to do deceptively otherwise,” said Mr Taylor.

“In a speech on the future of Europe in 1946, Winston Churchill called the continent, ‘the fountain of Christian faith and Christian ethics’. He went on to set out a moral vision that clearly linked the peace and prosperity of Europe with the resolve of its people to ‘do right instead of wrong’ and the willingness of nation states to pursue cooperation and ‘spiritual greatness’.”