Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, speaking in Fermanagh at the launch of the party’s document on Farming and Brexit, has said the survival of Northern Ireland’s farming and agri-food industry is hanging in the balance as a result of Brexit.
Matt Carthy, who is a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee, claimed Brexit will be a disaster and in particular for those involved in farming and agri-food.
He added: “The DUP has serious questions to answer for supporting the Tories and putting our rural communities in such a position. Agriculture faces three key challenges as a result of Brexit:
· Major loss of funding - £236 million a year – an average of £10,184 per farm as well as the loss of £186 million from the Rural Development Programme.
l Costly barriers – Irish agriculture operates in a highly integrated manner with many sectors completely all-island in nature. Barriers including tariffs, origin checks, more paperwork, physical border checks and two different regulatory regimes will cause serious disruption.
l Vulnerability to cheap imports as the Tories pursue trade deals which reflect their needs and not those of producers in the north.
“There is also uncertainty as to the future status of the many thousands of EU nationals who are a critical part of the workforce in the agri-food sector in the North.”
He said this could all be avoided if there was special status designated.