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‘Agriculture will be hardest hit by Brexit’ - McAleer

2 February, 2018 - by Declan McAleer

The Department of Agriculture will be hardest hit by Brexit, prompting renewed calls from Sinn Féin for rural communities to be better protected.

The party’s agriculture spokesperson Declan McAleer made the call after meeting with senior officials from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEARA) yesterday.

He said: “The officials were very clear that they expect their department to be hardest hit by Brexit and they are extremely concerned about the budgetary position going forward.

“This isn’t surprising given the extent of support to the rural and agriculture economy from the European Union and that again reaffirms the need for the North to secure designated special status to remain in the EU.

“And when this is taken together with the impact of ongoing Tory austerity cuts on all departmental budgets, it also reinforces the need to ensure that resources are properly equality and rural-proofed.

“The Sinn Féin delegation made it very clear that we do not believe the Department has fully considered its duty to address poverty and disadvantage when drawing up its spending proposals.

“While we appreciate that all departments are facing budgetary pressures as a result of cuts to the block grant, there is still an onus to ensure that resources are properly targeted to address objective need.”

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