Ulster Unionist Leader, Robin Swann MLA, met Michael Gove MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in Belfast on Thursday. They discussed access to markets and continued funding of the Northern Ireland agri-food sector.
Robin Swann said:
“I was delighted to welcome Michael Gove to Northern Ireland today and speak to him in his role as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. I took the opportunity to emphasise the need for easy access of our agri-food sector to GB markets. It is vital that nothing is put in the way of that in a future deal between the United Kingdom and the EU over Brexit.
“I was glad to receive a commitment from Mr Gove that the level of support received by Northern Ireland`s agri-food sector will not be diminished in the years ahead. Indeed he made clear that in line with the Conservative party manifesto, funding for the sector will be guaranteed until 2022 so that the same amount of funding will continue to go to each constituent part of the United Kingdom and it will be up to each devolved government to decide how that will be allocated.
“I welcome his comments which should reassure people that despite the hysteria and scare stories being pedalled by the EU and the other usual suspects, the interests of the Northern Ireland farming industry are being discussed at the highest levels of Government.
“The elephant in the room is the fact that we don`t have a devolved government. The blame for that lies squarely at the feet of political parties (Sinn Fein?) in Northern Ireland who place ideology ahead of the interests of our agri-food sector and wellbeing of our people.”