Monday 29 May 2017

Brexit poses serious threat to UK-Irish food trade - May must act to protect our bond

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Ian Wright

British Prime Minister Theresa May aims to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of the month, which will give formal notice of the UK's intention to leave the EU.

The UK's food and drink sector, for whom I work, employs four million people - 13.5pc of the UK workforce. We are clear on our priorities as we enter two years of negotiations. Top of this list is the crucial question of what will happen to trade between the UK and the Republic of Ireland once the UK has left the EU. This is a question rooted in our shared - and often contentious - history, in deep bonds of friendship, and in the physical and economic realities of both nations.

The Irish Border is - currently - the UK's only land border with the EU. The food and drink industries of both countries are deeply interlinked.

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