Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Monday, 14 June 2021
Seanad Committee on the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union
Impact of Brexit on the Food and Drink Industry: Discussion
I thank the three contributors for their useful information. The Chair outlined at the outset that the purpose of these engagements with the likes of the witnesses and others is for us to formulate a report at the end that we can send to Government. That will happen shortly. The Chair will probably outline a few more details on that in her own contribution.
I have a couple of quick questions on the aspects the witnesses would like us to include in this report, from their own collective perspective. Dr. Johnston outlined his enthusiasm, if I can put it that way, for the Northern Ireland protocol. It is disappointing the loudest voices we hear from Northern Ireland are those that are very much against the protocol. It is refreshing to hear comments from the business community and the farming sector on that. While far from perfect, it is probably the only show in town and it needs to be adjusted rather than thrown out the window. It is good to hear that.
From Mr. Lavelle’s perspective, the EU has some homework to do in relation to its business. I would very much like that to happen. From the point of view of Derry, I and Senator O'Reilly come from Border communities. We can see milk tankers traversing the roads North and South every day of the week. The witnesses calculated in their own contributions the difficulties we face here. It is vitally important for agriculture and food production in the Border region generally that we get this issue sorted. I ask each witness to give their top three points in terms of this discussion.