NI farmers and planning for Brexit
Sir, – Jeffrey Donaldson tells us that the DUP’s decision to support Brexit was based on principle and practicality, (“Taoiseach will have to wait longer for our Brexit plan”, Opinion, August 5th).
To most people, it would seem highly impractical for the UK government and, indeed the DUP, to have spent 14 months, post referendum, with no plan in sight. For example, for the Northern Ireland agricultural sector, which employs around 60,000 people, the level of uncertainty must be very disturbing.
In the House of Commons NI Affairs Committee Report of May 2016, dealing with the EU referendum, Dr Graham Gudgin, from Cambridge University, makes the point that “virtually the whole of farm income in NI is covered by the Common Agricultural Policy. If that subsidy is not there, the farming industry in NI would not make any money at all. That is something that nobody in NI has been keen to publicise”.
Despite the best efforts of the Ulster Farmers Union, the UK government has resolutely refused to give any commitment whatsoever to replace these funds.
If Mr Donaldson is really concerned about dairy processors in Northern Ireland, perhaps he might at least urge his Conservative colleagues at Westminster to get a move on. We are all waiting. – Yours, etc,