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All Island approach to Agriculture is the only way forward – Matt Carthy MEP

14 May, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Commenting this week from the Balmoral show in County Antrim, Sinn Féín MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency and member of the European Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Matt Carthy has said that an all island approach to agriculture is required to address a number of issues affecting the agriculture sector across the island.

Carthy said:

“The past 12 months in particular have highlighted the impact of partition on our agriculture sector.

“First we saw the huge impact of the border on our beef sector when issues arose in relation to the label of origin on cattle reared in the south but finished in the North.

“Now we see a similar issue has emerged for sheep and lamb reared in the North but finished in the south.

“I have spoken regularly with the north’s Minister for Agriculture, Michelle O’Neill, who has engaged extensively with Minister Simon Coveney, to have these issues addressed in a united manner. I have offered my full support at a EU level to any proposed efforts.

“The simple fact of the matter is that the issues affecting farmers in the north are the same as those affecting farmers in the south and our economy is too small to sustain partition.

“While there remains a strong tradition of cross border trade, it is vitally important if we are to effectively promote agricultural produce on the world stage that we work together on an all island basis to overcome the challenges facing the sector.

“Moves towards a voluntary “Island of Ireland” labelling system are welcome.  However, it is becoming increasingly obvious that an integrated all-Ireland agriculture structure is required to ensure that Irish agriculture, north and south, not only is sustainable into the future but can reach its full potential.”

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