Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 February 2018

Concern over free transport of milk lorries across border

Over 33,000 milk lorries cross the border every year.
Over 33,000 milk lorries cross the border every year.
ICMSA's Lorcan McCabe. Photo: Kieran Clancy
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

IFA officials based near the border are urging Sinn Féin to take up their Westminster seats in order to ease the impact of Brexit on farmers in the region.

Sinn Féin won seven seats in UK's snap election earlier this month, but won't take their seats due to their abstention policy which protests British rule in the North, as well as the oath all MPs must make to the Queen.

However, Michael Chance, IFA Donegal chairman, is calling on the party to reconsider.

"We need to do everything in our power to ensure that we get a sensible option for Ireland. We would like Sinn Féin to take their seats in Westminster to help strengthen our hand.

"If they took their seats, it would add more balance to the UK parliament. They have a voice in every county in Ireland, north and south, and they would be strengthen the voice for a softer Brexit. They should be in there," he said.

Lorcan McCabe - chairperson of the ICMSA farm business committee, and a dairy farmer based in Bailieborough, Co Cavan - says protecting the free movement of milk suppliers across the border is his main Brexit concern.

"Over 33,000 milk lorries cross the border every year, if one lorry is held up at the border for an hour that's a loss of 33,000 hours, we can't let that happen. That's just a simple thing without thinking of tariffs or checks.

"The efficiency of Lakeland Dairies depends on that movement running completely smoothly, and at the moment northern dairy suppliers and southern dairy suppliers have the perfect marriage," he said.

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Both IFA and ICMSA representatives said they are in regular contact with suppliers in the region on mitigating against Brexit.

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