SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, is to meet with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to discuss their preparations for Brexit and beyond 29th March. The Mid Ulster MLA is also to raise the issue of nuclear waste dumping following the publication of video broadcasts by Radioactive Waste Management Ltd – the British government-owned company tasked with finding sites for disposing of radioactive waste. Mr McGlone is the SDLP spokesperson on agriculture.
Mr McGlone said, “I have asked for a meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to discuss their preparations for Brexit and beyond 29th March.
“Our local economy is highly dependent on the sustainability of our agri-food sector and the possibility of a No Deal Brexit and the ongoing uncertainty over future arrangements undermines that sustainability.
“It is essential that the Department has plans in place to deal with all possible outcomes from the current negotiations and I will be seeking assurances on that front. I will also be looking for an assessment from the Department of their view of the most likely outcome and how they will ensure that the food and agricultural sector is supported through any transition period.
“Another issue I intend to raise is the heightened concern over the potential disposal of radioactive waste in the North following the identification of several areas, including the Sperrins, as prospective locations by the British government-owned Radioactive Waste Management Ltd.
“According to media reports the company have ruled out pursuing a siting process in Northern Ireland “for the time being” due to the absence of a functioning Executive.
“I will be seeking assurances from the Permanent Secretary that the Department will under no circumstances agree to any proposal to dispose of radioactive waste material in any part of the North.
“The failure of Sinn Féin and the DUP to restore devolution and put in place a functioning Executive continues to limit our ability to address the major concerns of our time.
“The SDLP will continue to argue for the return of a power-sharing Executive, accountable to a locally elected Assembly.
“In the meantime, we will represent our constituents to the best of our ability and lobby on their behalf wherever decisions will be made that affect them.”