Tuesday 22 January 2019

A fair post-Brexit deal for Fingal farmers is demanded at Brussels

Deputy Darragh O’Brien with Phil Hogan.
Deputy Darragh O’Brien with Phil Hogan.

Local Fianna Fáil TD and Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Darragh O'Brien has demanded that the Government and European counterparts do all it takes to ensure the full protection of the agri-food sector in Ireland, ahead of Britain's exit from the EU Customs Union.

Deputy O'Brien and the Fianna Fail Brexit team travelled to Brussels to meet with key stakeholders across industries to discuss to potential challenges and impact on sectors such as agri-food.

Following his meeting with EU Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan, he said, 'Weekly trade between Ireland and Britain amounts to over €1 billion in goods and services; this underlines the importance of the relationship between the two countries.

'The agri-food sector in Fingal is especially successful given our county's strategic location and healthy land. In fact, over half of our land is utilised farmland for produce and is the heartland of fresh food produce in Ireland. Our county's 600+ farmers produce 15% of national potatoes, almost 50% of vegetable and over 35% of protected fruits, veg and nursery plants. We need to protect these farmers, their exports and the jobs that they subsequently create.

'I took the opportunity during my meeting with Agriculture Commissioner, Phil Hogan to raise many of the specific needs and concerns that have been relayed to me by these farmers and growers in North county. I reiterated these concerns with Michel Barnier's EU Brexit team and the Irish Farmers' Association.'

Deputy O'Brien explained some of those concerns, saying: 'The depreciation of the Sterling has led to a loss of income for many and producers are growing increasingly concerned that Britain's impending exit from the Customs Union will result in unfair prices, particularly for primary producers in Fingal.'

He concluded: 'The Irish Government and European colleagues must ensure every assistance is offered to support assist the agri, dairy, beef and horticulture sectors in North County Dublin.'

Fingal Independent