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All-Ireland co-operation needed to deal with labelling issue - Ferris

15 April, 2015 - by Martin Ferris TD

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD has raised concern at reports that restrictions have been put in place on lamb from the North being processed by Southern-based abattoirs as a result of new EU Country of Origin labelling regulations.

Deputy Ferris said:

“I have already received reports and representations from sheep farmers who are concerned about the real implications that this restriction will have on sheep prices and market supply across the island.

“Last year, we saw the negative impact that market manipulation and strict labelling regulations had on our beef trade. We are now seeing a repeat of this targeting other produce sectors.

“I’m calling on Minister Simon Coveney to engage immediately with his counterparts in the North’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to discuss what mitigating measures may be introduced to restrict these important trade barriers.”

Echoing the call for ministerial intervention, Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson in the Assembly, Oliver McMullan said:

“I’m concerned about the potential impact that this new development will have on sheep prices, North and South. Farmers have already experienced a very volatile and fragile market over the past 12 months and it’s vital that we work together to create the stability which is needed for the industry to grow.

“Across the island of Ireland we have a top quality produce brand and high traceability standards. We must ensure that the border isn’t allowed to become a further obstacle to all-island trade.

“I call on Minister Simon Coveney to make a joint submission with Minister Michelle O’Neill to the European Commission regarding their labelling regulations and the difficulties in enforcing such on the island of Ireland as a result of partition.” 

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