Matt Carthy MEP concerned at contrast between Britain and EU on Brexit threat to Ireland.
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has expressed his deep concern at contrast between the depth of recognition of the threats to Ireland shown in British and European Commission position papers on Brexit.
Speaking from Brussels, Matt Carthy said:
“The paper published this week shows that the European Commission is finally getting to grips with the range of issues covered by the Good Friday Agreement, and the fact that much of this Agreement is indivisibly embedded in EU law. This includes issues related to agriculture and food safety.
“This is not a radical departure by the Commission from previous statements, and a number of issues have still not been addressed, including what will happen with the border. However it is a solid move in the right direction in terms of Sinn Féin has been pushing for related to agriculture and trade.
“Sinn Féin's strategy since the Brexit referendum last year has been to demand a Designated Special Status for the North of Ireland, which would allow the North to continue to participate in a number of EU rules including labelling rules, food safety, traceability, animal health and welfare rules and quality schemes.
“Designated Special Status would also mean a complete rejection of any hardening of the border in Ireland.
"It is absolutely necessary to protect trade and processing routes on the island of Ireland in order to safeguard farming livelihoods.
“The EU Commission’s position paper published today indeed calls for 'unique solutions' to issues around Ireland, something that would effectively amount to a Designated Special Status.
“Agricultural communities in Ireland, North and South are deeply interwoven, and the language of the paper recognises this.
"What we need to see now though, are practical solutions from both negotiating partners and the Irish Government, who have yet to provide any real understanding of how to protect farming communities North and South.
“Currency fluctuations in recent months have dealt a massive blow to both the beef and mushroom sectors in Ireland, highlighting the need for urgent solutions.
"I have tabled an amendment to the Draft EU 2018 Budget calling for an AGRI-Brexit fund to help farmers whose incomes have fallen shortly. I will be calling on all members of the AGRI Committee to secure support from their respective political groupings. "