Sinn Féin calls for All-Ireland agri-food task-force – Brian Stanley TD
Sinn Féin Agriculture and Food Spokesperson Deputy Brian Stanley has called for the establishment of an all-Ireland Agri-food taskforce to coordinate the sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Laois-Offaly TD was speaking following the news that the North of Ireland is now in lockdown and outlined the need, now more than ever, for plans to be put in place to avoid supply chain issues.
Deputy Stanley said:
“It is essential that we ensure that food production for the domestic market is not interrupted by Covid-19.
“Following the news that the North of Ireland is now going into lockdown we are calling for the immediate establishment of a temporary all-Ireland Agri-food task-force to ensure that supply chains continue to operate as usual and that plans are put in place now to ensure that any difficulties can be overcome.
“I have written to Minister Creed and I have called for such a task-force to be established. This task-force must include the Department of Agriculture, stakeholders who represent farmers, Co-operatives, retailers, processors, Teagasc and other key groups.
“The lockdown in the North of Ireland has created two different sets of rules for farmers and businesses on the island. We need to be able to coordinate our supply chains throughout this period of dealignment.
“There is a significant amount of agri-food trade between North and South on the island and that smooth and constant supply must continue uninterrupted.
“A key priority for this task-force will be to temporarily classify food produce as ‘essential goods’ to ensure that they are given green transit priority through border controls.
"I am also calling on the task-force to consider a ban on non-EU meat imports.
“It is imperative that our food supply chains continue to operate as normal. We need urgent action to avoid any unnecessary complications. The establishment of an all-Ireland task-force is essential.”