Brexit will be ‘a disaster’ for Mid Ulster

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Agriculture Minister and Mid Ulster MLA Michelle O’Neill has claimed that Brexit will be a disaster for local farmers, the rural community and consumers.

Last year, farmers in Mid Ulster shared a £26m windfall, one of the highest cash boosts for the farming community in any of the North’s constituencies.

The economic windfall came in the form of last year’s Single Farm Payment, which would be lost if the UK were to leave the European Union.

In all, £249m was paid to Northern Irish farmers in the past financial year.

Sinn Fein representative O’Neill warned that the future outside the EU was an uncertain one, claiming the impact of exit would be “disastrous”.

She did not believe that the British government shared her view that the funding going to local farmers and rural communities needed to be maintained. “Post Brexit, I believe it would be very difficult to convince the British Treasury to sustain current funding levels.”

“It is clear that the best way to secure our current trading arrangements with the rest of the EU is to stay a member of the EU.

“There is no guarantee that we could replicate our current trade arrangements with the EU post Brexit given the discussions around agricultural products are always the most difficult in any trade negotiation.”