Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Saturday 3 December 2016

'Brexit' warning for northern farmers

Published 02/02/2016 | 02:30

Warning: Stormont Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill. Photo Diarmuid McLaughlin
Warning: Stormont Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill. Photo Diarmuid McLaughlin

A referendum in favour of a Brexit would have disastrous consequences for farming in the north, Stormont Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has warned.

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Speaking at a conference on ‘Brexit: Rights and Wrongs’ last week, Minister O’Neill said: “The problem with a vote to leave the EU is that no one will know what they are voting for. This is due to the absence of information about the type of relationships that would be negotiated with the rest of the world and the EU, post exit. 

“Access to the EU is something that would have to be negotiated in the wake of a vote to leave and I find it difficult to see a scenario that affords us the same access to EU markets as we currently enjoy. Our agri-food sector would be worse off under Brexit,” she added.

She also told delegates that an  exit would have significant impact on Northern Ireland’s links with the Republic.  “Our farmers’ livelihoods depend on cross-border livestock movement to make their farm businesses profitable. It would be catastrophic in this regard if customs posts were redeployed along the border, infringing on the social, community and business interests of this island’s population.”

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