Northern Ireland farmers accuse EU of playing political ‘football’ over cross-border trade
Conservative and Labour MPs were also accused of ignoring the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland.
The European Union has created fear and uncertainty among farmers in Northern Ireland by treating the region as a political football in Brexit negotiations, MPs have been told.
Co Tyrone poultry farmer Thomas Douglas said it was time for the EU to “wise up”, suggesting political posturing was preventing a workable solution to cross border trade post Brexit.
Mr Douglas, who was one of a number of farmers who outlined their concerns to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, also claimed Conservative and Labour MPs in Great Britain were not concerned about the impact of Brexit on Northern Ireland and stressed the need for powersharing to be restored at Stormont.
Committee members travelled from Westminster to Belfast on Monday to hear evidence from farmers from a range of different agricultural sectors.
Mr Douglas told the evidence session at Stormont: “The biggest thing, and I think all of us would agree, is we need to know what is going to happen in Brexit, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, let us know so we can organise the Northern Ireland agriculture to deal with it.
“Europe is playing a game, let’s be quite honest.
“Europe is playing a political game using the Northern Ireland border as the football and they are using the Republic of Ireland as one team and the UK as the other team, to put it in a football perspective, and letting them kick the ball back and forwards and that is suiting Europe at the minute and the European negotiators.
“And it’s time that people in the UK parliament tells the European negotiators to wise up here.