Brexit and broadband among the burning issues for rural readers
'We are making huge progress' - open eir managing director
Brexit has lead to a situation that is "worse than uncertain" for farmers, particularly those close to the border, Mairead McGuinness has warned.
Speaking during a special series of talks at the Irish Independent tent in Screggan, Co Offaly, the Midlands North-West MEP said the biggest challenge for Ireland is understanding the position of other EU member states ahead of negotiations.
"People in my constituency work in Northern Ireland, farmers trade with each other. If there is a hard negotiation and a tough outcome there will be difficulties, because it's impossible to say that we can hold on to the status quo today and see the UK leave," said Ms McGuinness.
She said the European parliament has a "good understanding" of the political and agricultural consequences of a hard border with Northern Ireland.
But she said Ireland "cannot seek a special deal" with the UK to maintain current relationships on work and trade.
She said the situation is "worse than uncertain" and criticised British Prime Minister Theresa May for not articulating that she wants a strong Europe.
"The noise from her Leave campaign within the Conservative party has gotten stronger and louder even this week. They want a hard leave because they believe they can ignore Europe and import from New Zealand, Australia, Brazil and that has consequences for this audience, this event and this country," she told host Dearbhail McDonald, INM Group Business Editor.
Rural internet was another hotly-debated issue during talks at our stand located at block two, row 10.