Carthy calls on EU Commission to commit to Brexit Relief Fund
The Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West, Matt Carthy, has called on the Commission to commit to providing for a Brexit Relief Fund as a matter of urgency.
Speaking following receiving communication from Commissioner Hogan on Sinn Féin’s proposal, Carthy said:
“Britain’s exit from the European Union will have implications for Ireland and key sectors within our economy no matter what the final arrangement looks like. While we in Sinn Féin are confident that the north can and must secure special status within the EU and are working for a favourable trading relationship with Britain in a post-Brexit scenario we also recognise that there will be damaging consequences in almst every scenario.
“There are multiple reports and studies all pointing to a disastrous impact on the agricultural sector yet we still have no indication of what specific support will be put in place to help farmers withstand any shocks. The same is true for other sectors.
“Sinn Féin has been calling on the Commission to provide for a Brexit Relief fund to be established to provide assistance to those sectors most at risk to an adverse Brexit outcome. Discourse of a no-deal Brexit has been rife of late and farmers and small businesses cannot be left without the necessary tools to deal with those eventualities.
“Before the summer I submitted a parliamentary question to the European Commission asking it to consider the possibility of creating a relief fund to be used by farmers affected by market disturbances as a result of Brexit – for example currency fluctuations, the imposition of checks and controls, potential tariff-rate quotas, disruptions to supply chains, and trade diversion.
“It is my view that a Brexit-specific fund does need to be created since there is a danger that existing emergency relief programmes and funds will be unsuitable and insufficient to deal with this scenario. Take for example the early victims of Brexit related currency fluctuations such as the mushroom sector, for whom the Irish Government sought no EU emergency relief.
“Brexit is a new challenge. Never before has a country deicded to leave the European Union. Therefore we need new solutions to the pressures it brings on remaining countries.
“Commissioner Hogan’s response that it is “impossible to predict the potential implications of Brexit” is short-sighted and disappointing. Now is the time to be preapring for shocks, not a year after they’ve already inflicted the worst.
“Sinn Féin will not be deterred from this unimaginative approach from the Irish Commissioner supposedly looking our for the interests of farmers’. We will be presenting our own proposals on this issue to the European Union’s 2019 Budget.
“We are entering a crucial period in Brexit talks. Our priority must be to ensure that the north remains part of the EU, especially the Customs Union and Single Market. But we must also protect businesses, farms and citizens across the EU who stand to lose most from Brexit – a sizeable number of those reside in Ireland. Therefore I am calling on the Irish government to get behind our demand for a Brexit Relief Fund”.