Threatened farmers now have strong ally in DUP
Farmers who feared Brexit and the loss of vital EU subsidies now have a stronger ally in the UK parliament with the Democratic Unionist Party.
Following the Brexit vote farmers in Northern Ireland expressed concerns about losing £260m (€295m) in payments from Europe.
But now, with the DUP having 10 MPs elected to parliament following the UK general election on Thursday, farmers in Northern Ireland have a much stronger backing.
While a deal between the Conservative Party and the DUP is still being negotiated to see if Theresa May can hold onto power, DUP MPs say they will ensure farming and fishing is firmly high up the agenda in Brexit negotiations.
The DUP was very much behind Brexit ahead of the referendum and has been very vocal since with assurances to farmers that the agriculture industry was vital to the Northern Ireland economy. Jim Shannon has been a DUP MP for the past seven years and was re-elected once more on Thursday night to serve the people of Strangford. He said with the DUP increasing its Westminster seats by 25pc, the party was in a strong position to fight a good battle for farmers and fishermen.
"We're in the business. With 10 members elected to parliament we will make sure both the farming and fishing industries will be discussed to the benefit of both in Westminster. We were always Brexiteers and made sure to get the message across to Westminster that the European Union's single payment system to farmers must be replicated when the UK leaves the EU.
"DUP MPs are now in a strong position to sign a favourable deal with the Tories to benefit everyone in Northern Ireland and we are the only party to have MPs representing the country in Westminster. If there is a deal that will benefit Northern Ireland and satisfy the needs of the people, then we will take it."
Charlie Weir milks 600 cows in Waringstown, Co Down, and said there is a strong possibility of a good deal. "With a strong DUP Brexit team in place, farming and other industries should see a favourable future in Northern Ireland," he said.