MEP Seán Kelly hits out at UK’s food blockade claim

MEP for Ireland South Seán Kelly has rubbished claims by the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, suggesting the EU will stop the transport of food products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

He has described it as “a deliberate attempt to misinterpret mutually designed provisions in the Protocol on Northern Ireland” and nothing more than “an audacious act to justify the breaking of international law”.

The MEP and leader of Fine Gael in the EU parliament said “the Protocol itself was specifically designed to protect the Good Friday Agreement, including avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

However, the comments of the Prime Minister bring to the frontline once again concerns all across Ireland from the agriculture sector, and the access of Irish products to the Great Britain (GB) market, particularly that of beef.

“The economic integration on the island of Ireland has resulted in the development of a highly intertwined agri-food sector. The GB market is of utmost importance for Irish farmers, and we must do everything we can to maintain competitive access.

“With such exposure to any change in market access, the Irish agricultural sector needs to be front and centre of the EU’s farmers €5 bilion Brexit compensation fund,” Kelly insisted.

Warning

MEP Kelly has warned the British PM about making such claims about blockades.

This is not a zero sum game and it has significant real life implications not just for Irish producers, but also for British consumers who will experience higher prices in their supermarkets on a wide variety of products.

“I would strongly urge the British Prime Minister to change his tact and return to building trust with the EU so that a mutually beneficial and fair deal can be made. The first step of which is simply to honour previous agreement,” Kelly concluded.

Last week, the EU gave the UK until the end of September to withdraw the controversial ‘Internal Market Bill’ which it says undermines the provisions of the Northern Ireland Protocol which Boris Johnson had previously signed off on.