Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has criticised the Government’s lack of response to a Brexit Agri-food memo received by it eight months ago.
Speaking from Strasbourg this week, following the leak of the memo, Carthy said:
“Sinn Féin welcomes proposals from the European Commission leaked this morning that trade in Agri-foods can be done on an all-Ireland basis post-Brexit.
“This is one of several solutions we have been extensively pushing for in a number of meetings with the Commission and other negotiators since the Referendum last year.
“The fact that this leak came a day after key Sinn Féin proposals on a Special Status for the North were included in a European Parliament Resolution shows that consensus is building, thanks to these efforts.
“The need for all-Ireland trade to continue is of vital importance for farmers who send products and live animals across the border on a daily basis.
“However, the proposals do not nearly go far enough.
“All-Ireland free trade and participation in EU animal health and food safety rules will only solve part of the problem thrown up by Brexit.
“If the Commission is willing to accept that farmers in the North and South need special arrangements to avoid a complete collapse in beef and dairy markets, then they must understand that having farmers on an unequal footing with regard to the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will not work.
“Without further special arrangements, some farmers will continue to receive subsidies through Pillar I and will continue to be bound by environmental commitments in Pillar II, while others will not. Achieving a special status for the north means addressing all of these issues.
“The Government should be openly pushing for these solutions. The divergence between the position in this memo and the Taoiseach’s statements over the border in the last eight months is extremely telling.
“I will be writing to the Commission outlining Sinn Féin’s full position in relation to this memo.
“We want to work with the Irish Government to secure movement but they first need to state categorically that they will also press for this resolution.”