Carthy seeks EU Parliament Agriculture working group on Brexit
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said the Brexit will have profound implications for the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and for Irish farmers.
He again called for other Irish MEPs and their political groups to support his call for an working group to examine in detail how Brexit will impact on the farming community to be established by the European Parliament’s Agriculture committee.
Matt Carthy said:
“The effects of the Brexit Referendum are already being felt in European agricultural markets.
“Irish mushroom growers, live cattle exporters and beef producers have already been hit hard by fluctuations in the sterling.
“These early warning signals will be nothing compared to the breakup of a common agricultural market that has already revealed itself to be extremely volatile and vulnerable.
“These trends will undoubtedly be exacerbated in the wake of yesterday's announcement by Theresa May that her Government is seeking a hard Brexit.
“In November I wrote sent to all members of the AGRI Committee, including the Chair and the secretariat, asking that a working group be established to examine in detail how Brexit would impact on the farming community.
“I am disappointed that the larger political groups, including those to which Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil belong, argued that there is no need for a working group. Their response is bizarre and incomprehensible considering that other committees in parliament have set up these type of working groups, recognising as they do the implications of Brexit on their sectors.
“The publication of the AGRI secretariat’s long awaited so-called “technical note on Brexit” this month proves the urgent need for MEPs on the Agriculture & Rural Development committee to wake up to this process.
“The seven-page document downplays the impact Brexit will have on the farming community, choosing instead to focus on how easy it will be merely to remove references to the UK from each of the CAP Regulations.
“From an Irish perspective, the facts are that direct payments will completely cease for farmers in the North of Ireland and that a whole series of programmes and projects in rural areas will see their funding disappear as a result of co-funded Rural Development Programmes no longer existing.
“There is now a huge threat to rural communities north and south.
“Changes to the budget, changes to trading patterns, regulatory divergences and the pulling of certain price and other supports will have a massive impact on both the livelihoods of Irish farmers and agricultural markets.
“It is time for Irish MEPs, of all political persuasions, to wake up to the realities of how Theresa May’s plans will impact on our farmers.
“I find it wholly inadequate that members of the Agriculture and Rural Development Committee have been excluded thus far or - as Fine Gael have done - chosen to take a back seat in a process that is moving at lightening pace.
“I am appealing again to MEPs in the Committee to demand the establishment of a working group as soon as possible.”