NI remaining in the single market looks most feasible compromise - ICMSA

ICMSA President Pat McCormack.
ICMSA President Pat McCormack.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

AN 'All-Ireland agri backstop' is worth exploring, but there are likely to be political issues that make the idea a non-runner, says ICMSA president Pat McCormack.

"The suggested possibility of a mass cull of cows on the northern side of the border in the event of tariffs making the processing of their milk in the South uneconomic is of huge concern. It seems to have focussed minds in some quarters and if that's all it does, then it was well worth raising that terrible possibility."

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He said a 'border down the Irish Sea' for food and agri is feasible but, obviously, that's not the goal for all.

"Ireland, the EU and the UK - must try find a solution that allows the continuation of quota-free and tariff-free food trade between the EU and the UK."

This, he said, could highlight and return centre-stage the idea of Northern Ireland remaining in the Single Market while constitutionally remaining a full part of the UK.

"Economically, this would give them a fantastic opportunity, while leaving unaltered their constitutional arrangements.

"It might be a way around the All-UK backstop question that so many cite as the decisive factor in their rejection of May's withdrawal agreement. It would also protect the east-west relationship and remove the risk of tariffs from October 31," said Mr McCormack.

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