Agri-industry ‘screwed’ says leading journalist

Posted By: July 01, 2016

John Manley. Irish News (Belfast). Friday, July 1, 2016

Farmers face a bleak Brexit future according to Farming Life’s Richard Halloran. Picture by Matt Bohill
One of the leading voices in Northern Ireland’s farming press has spelled out the implications of Brexit for the region’s agriculture sector in the starkest terms.

According to journalist Richard Halloran, right, who pens a comment piece in the News Letter’s twice-weekly Farming Life supplement, the industry is “screwed”.

Ahead of the last week’s referendum, the north’s oldest newspaper sided with the DUP,  TUV and Ukip in supporting the Leave campaign. However, it appears Mr Halloran allied himself with the Ulster Farmers’ Union and various business groups in backing Remain.

In a postmortem of the referendum result in his Wednesday column, he wrote: “I think the farming and food sectors in Northern Ireland can now look forward to a period of serious turbulence, the likes of which we have never seen before – or to put it another way, we’re screwed.”

Mr Halloran likens the Leave campaign’s hope that the UK will negotiate a post-Brexit free trade deal with the EU as “akin to betting on a three-legged horse in the Grand National”.

He says the new EU frontier separating Northern Ireland from the Republic will create “immense” challenges for food companies north of the border.

The Farming Life columnist concludes: “I don’t think too many farmers will be happy.”

John Manley