Fears Northern Ireland agri-food sector is on brink over impasse and Brexit
The Northern Ireland agri-food industry is "in grave peril" because of the Stormont stalemate and unresolved Brexit issues, a major producer has warned.
John McCann of Co Down firm Willowbrook Foods said the uncertainty meant he had put off plans to invest £1m in the business.
And he has questioned why more business leaders are not speaking out.
The managing director said the lack of ministers means his industry, which is heavily reliant on exports, is falling behind the rest of the EU from a lack of capital investment.
He said Willowbrook Foods, which employs around 380 people in Killinchy, is also facing a major staff shortage. Around 75% of the workforce comes from elsewhere in the EU.
Mr McCann said the company could easily employ up to 600, but claimed people are being put off from coming to Northern Ireland.
The firm is experiencing a period of growth, with turnover of £24.3m in 2017, up from £22.1m in 2016.
But Mr McCann said it had hit a glass ceiling, and put the blame squarely at the feet of our politicians.