During the meeting, the Sinn Féin MEP outlined the major concerns facing Irish agriculture post Brexit. He sought this meeting following recent comments from a leading figure in French Agriculture, calling for a hard border in Ireland.
Carthy, a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, said since the Brexit vote that his party have been heavily involved in talks seeking a resolution to concerns. He said the party are looking for the best post Brexit outcome for Ireland.
He said, “Since the Brexit vote last year, Sinn Féin MEP’s have been engaged in a political offensive to talk to as many political parties, interest groups and organisations as possible to ensure the best outcome possible for Ireland. This includes groups from other European countries and those who wouldn’t necessarily have the same starting point as us.”
He also mentioned remarks made by the French official Christophe Hillairet calling for a hard border, and said this was the mean reasoning for his seeking of talks.
He said “Last month Christophe Hillairet, President of the Ile de France section of the French Chamber of Agriculture caused consternation among farming communities in Ireland by making calls for the re-establishment of a hard border on the island of Ireland. On the basis of these remarks I sought and secured a meeting with the head representative of the French Chamber of Agriculture in Brussels, Damian Danien Pevost.”.
Carthy also mentioned some of the Irish Brexit concerns which he brought up during the meetings.
He also said he happily explained the current outworking of the Irish Agriculture sector.
He stated, “During a robust and productive engagement, I relayed to him the concerns of Irish agriculture and the need for an open border to maintain long established and crucial trading and processing routes on the island. I was happy to explain the outworking of the all-Ireland Agricultural system currently in place and the fact that the concerns of French farmers would equally be best addressed by ensuring that the north continues to participate in the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).”
Mr. Carthy says the French harbour the same worries facing Irish farmers, and again stated the necessity for a hard border in Ireland. He said “The fears of the French farming community are the exact same as fears in Ireland. The threats of cheaper produced imports displacing local products are a legitimate cause of concern in the upcoming talks, and is something I have campaigned against with regards to TTIP and the Canadian Free trade deal CETA. That said, protecting trade and an open border on the island of Ireland is absolutely crucial to the survival of our farms and businesses.”
Mr. Carthy also spoke of the importance at looking for alternatives, “It is important to bear in mind that there arealternative and workable alternatives to the aggressive tory-Brexit agenda. Achieving the best outcome will require the cooperation of parties across the political spectrum both South and North.”
Carthy also added that he presented the Chamber of Agriculture with a document published by Sinn Féin on Brexit and agriculture, “During this meeting, I presented the French Chamber of Agriculture (Chambres d’Agriculture) with a copy of Sinn Féin’s Agri-Brexit document and impressed upon them the need for a Designated Special Status for the North of Ireland. I am confident that our dialogue will lead to a re-think on the part of French farm interests.”
He concluded by saying he was very pleased at the outcome of these discussions, and says he looks forward to working together to find the best solutions, “I am pleased with the outcome of this bilateral exchange and look forward to working together with Farm organisations across Ireland and throughout the EU, when necessary, to find the best deal for all our farmers.”