Carthy briefs French Agriculture Chamber on Irish Brexit concerns
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has held an important meeting with the Brussels representative of French Chamber of Agriculture where he outlined the Irish concerns regarding the impact of Brexit.
The Midlands North West MEP sought the meeting following reports by one farm leader that the post-Brexit scenario would require the imposition of a “hard border” in Ireland.
Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee, said:
“Since the Brexit vote last year, Sinn Féin MEPs have been engaged in a political offensive to talk to as many political parties, interest groups and organisations as possible to ensure the best outcomepossible for Ireland.
“This includes groups from other European countries and those who wouldn’t necessarily have the same starting point as us.
“Last month Christophe Hillairet, President of the Ile de France section of the French Chamber of Agriculture caused consternation among farming communities in Ireland by making calls for the re-establishment of a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“On the basis of these remarks I sought and secured a meeting with the head representative of the French Chamber of Agriculture in Brussels, Damian Danien Pevost.
“During a robust and productive engagement I relayed to him the concerns of Irish agriculture and the need for an open border to maintain long established and crucial trading and processing routes on the island.
"I was happy to explain the outworking of the all-Ireland agricultural system currently in place and the fact that the concerns of French farmers would equally be best addressed by ensuring that the North continues to participate in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
“The fears of the French farming community are the exact same as fears in Ireland.
"The threats of cheaper produced imports displacing local products are a legitimate cause of concern in the upcoming talks, and is something I have campaigned against with regards to TTIP and the Canadian Free trade deal CETA.
"That said, protecting trade and an open border on the island of Ireland is absolutely crucial to the survival of our farms and businesses.
“It is important to bear in mind that there are workable alternatives to the aggressive Tory Brexit agenda.
"Achieving the best outcome will require the cooperation of parties across the political spectrum both South and North.
“During this meeting I presented the French Chamber of Agriculture (Chambres d’Agriculture) with a copy of Sinn Féin’s Agri-Brexit document and impressed upon them the need for a Designated Special Status for the North of Ireland.
"I am confident that our dialogue will lead to a re-think on the part of French farm interests.
“I am pleased with the outcome of this bilateral exchange and look forward to working together with Farm organisations across Ireland and throughout the EU, when necessary, to find the best deal for all our farmers.”