SDLP MLA for Mid Ulster, Patsy McGlone, has warned that a No-Deal Brexit would devastate the local economy and cause chaos for the food and agricultural sector. The SDLP Spokesperson on Agriculture was speaking as the British Government published proposals for leaving the EU without a withdrawal agreement.
Mr McGlone said, “The British Government’s proposals for a No Deal Brexit would have a devastating impact on the food and agricultural sector here, and the whole economy across the island of Ireland.
“If these proposals were to be implemented the North would become the wild west of trade between the EU and the UK. The damage to our local economy, if this was allowed to happen, would be extensive and long-lasting.
“The Northern Irish MPs blocking an agreement with the EU will bear responsibility for the chaos of a No Deal Brexit here – whether that is the DUP by voting against, or Sinn Féin by not voting at all.
“There are also serious questions about how the proposals would operate in practice given the EU’s stated position on imposing third country trade tariffs on all imports from the UK into the EU in the absence of an agreed Brexit.
“Even if a No Deal Brexit is avoided on March 29th the future trading relationship between the UK and the EU remains to be determined. As does the future arrangements for the food, agriculture and fisheries sectors within the UK.
“Our local economy remains highly dependent on the sustainability of our agri-food sector. The future arrangements within the UK, on the island of Ireland, and with the rest of Europe will be essential to securing its continued success.
“The SDLP will continue to point out that the best outcome for our agri-food sector is one that remains as close as possible to the current situation.
“We want to see the return of a power-sharing Executive, accountable to a locally elected Assembly, that can present a unified position to all our partners in this process and help secure the prosperous sustainable economic future that all parties claim to want.”