The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said that there is increasing concern among farmers about proposed changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The comments come as the British government plans to publish a bill tomorrow (Monday, June 13) which proposes to amend the protocol.

Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis has claimed that the proposal does not breach international law.

However, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald disagreed adding that the protocol is working.

IFA president Tim Cullinan
IFA president Tim Cullinan

IFA President Tim Cullinan said that trade between north and south is working well and is operating in a positive way.

“Whatever the merits of the deal that was eventually agreed in December 2020, it has to be honoured.

“We have always said that Brexit would be damaging for our sector, but further unilateral changes will only add to the problem,” he said.

“The farming sector is going through massive upheaval at the moment. The inputs crisis is putting huge pressure on farmers. Anything that creates more disruption will be very negative,” Cullinan continued.

“Trade on the island of Ireland, and the trade flows east-west and west-east between here and the UK, are important to the economies on these islands.

“Every effort must be made to safeguard trade in agri-food goods, which plays a crucial role in the prosperity of rural communities,” the IFA president said.

Cullinan said the association has regular dialogue with the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) and National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

“We are committed to maintaining trade flows between here and the UK,” he stated.