Farmers called on to take part in Brexit protest

Farmers, those in the farm supply chain business, hauliers and any business and individuals affected by Brexit, are being asked to take part in a day of action on February 18.

Organised by Border Communities Against Brexit, a vehicle go slow and a white line protest will take place, aimed at showing support for Northern Ireland to have its vote to remain in the EU respected.

Border Communities Against Brexit came about because of ‘real concerns’ that the voices of those in the border region are not being listened to when it comes to the implications of Brexit.

Cross-border trade

The community group has outlined the cross-border trade links between the North and the Republic:

The farming community will especially be very badly affected if Brexit proceeds as it currently stands, as 30% of all milk produced in the North is sent south to be processed, there is no capacity for this milk to be processed in the North.

There are 6000 lambs per week sent to the south to be processed and then largely sold into the French market.

Beef farmers face the prospect of Britain buying very cheap beef from South America which will drastically reduce farm gate prices, then there is the massive issue of the loss of European farm supports which from 2014 – 2020 is £2.3 billion to farmers and rural communities in the North.

Added to all of this is the prospect of tariffs being applied to farm produce being sold outside of the UK market, which at current WTO rules, tariffs average for farm produce at 30%.

The group wants to ensure that the views of local communities are heard when big decisions affecting the futures of those living in the North are taken in London, Dublin and Brussels.

The prospect of a new EU frontier, stretching from Dundalk to Derry some 300 miles, is not acceptable to those living and working in border areas, north or south, it said.

The group is soon to meet the Under Secretary of State for the North, Lord Dunlop and it intends to travel to Europe to meet with EU decision makers to make them fully aware of the implications of Brexit for the North and the south in particular the Border Communities.

“We do not believe what we are being told from Westminster that a hard border will not happen; Westminster is bluffing us, European experts reject this.

We feel that a hard border looks likely and with that the dire economic consequences that would bring for thousands of families and business on this island, as trade tariffs and barriers to business would be implemented thereby removing our access to a free market and the customs union.

“Our voices will not be dismissed in the important negotiations that are about to take place when Article 50 is triggered in the next few weeks.

“These negotiations will set in stone the requirements of trade and the movement’s of our people between and across these island’s for generations, and the negative economic consequences that will be felt for generations to come,” a statement from the group said.

The group is asking for farmers support on Saturday, February 18, 2017 at 10.00am (for 40 minutes) to take part in a vehicle go slow at the main demonstration point at the M1 Carrickarnon Dundalk, (staging at Ravensdale Car Park) and a White Line Protest at Moybridge Aughnacloy, Lifford Bridge and Bridge End Derry (also at 10:00am).