Farmers to join Sinn Féin delegation in Brussels to discuss Food Labelling
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy will tomorrow, Tuesday, welcome a delegation from the Irish agriculture sector to Brussels where they will discuss the issue of developing an all island food label for Irish produce with senior representatives of the EU Commission.
Speaking ahead of the delegation, Mr Carthy said,
"The past 12 months have highlighted the negative impact
of partition on the Irish agriculture sector.
"First we saw the 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.
"The reputation of Irish meat, whether beef, lamb or pork, is renowned, but buyers do not want a label which indicates “mixed” origin. This is hard to accept, when “mixed” in this case, might mean an animal born in Jonesborough, Co. Armagh but finished a few miles away in Carlingford, Co. Louth.
"It is becoming increasingly obvious that an integrated all-island 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.
"The delegation of 36 includes representatives from Irish Farmers Association (IFA), Ulster Farmers Union (UFU), Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) and Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA), as well as farmers from all across Ireland.
"I have arranged meetings with officials in the Directorate General for Agriculture, Directorate General for Health and Food Safety, MEPs on the European Parliaments Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee and representatives from the Irish government and Northern Executive offices in Brussels.
"Sinn Féin has been consistent in raising this issue in Stormont, Leinster House and the European Parliament and we will continue to demand moves towards an “Island of Ireland” labelling system."