Brexit could devastate our chip shops - McAleer
Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has said that the ban on importing ware potatoes from Britain from 31 December could have a devastating impact on local chip shops and restaurants.
Declan McAleer said:
"Approximately 600,000 tonnes of ‘fry quality’ potatoes are imported from Britain each year for use as chips in our chippies and other eating outlets.
"These varieties of potatoes cannot be grown here but as a result of Brexit, Britain is considered a ‘3rd country’ outside the EU regulation zone and from 1 January 2021 these potatoes can no longer be imported to here. This could have a devastating impact on local chippies who are already contending with COVID restrictions and January is lean, even in ‘normal’ years.
"I raised this issue directly with Minister Poots at the AERA committee and he stated that while supermarkets and other shops got a ‘grace period’ to adjust to the new arrangements no such grace period has been extended to potatoes. The Minister outlined that he is in ongoing engagement with the British DEFRA Secretary George Eustace on this issue, but as yet there is no resolution other than finding an alternative supply line from a country like Holland.
"Sourcing alternative supply lines at such short notice will be extremely challenging, especially for small businesses and would incur substantial costs for businesses and consumers. This is another consequence of Brexit being inflicted on people and businesses in the north against our will."