July 15, 2020
Irish farmers must get their fair share of Brexit relief funds – MacManus

Irish farmers must get their fair share of Brexit relief funds – MacManus 
Chris MacManus, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands Northwest, has called on the European Commission to allocate Brexit relief funds by sectoral and state damage. MacManus was reacting to news that a fund of 5bn euro will be setup by the European Union “to counter the unforeseen consequences in the most affected member states”. 

MacManus said: “For a number of years, Sinn Féin has been calling for a Brexit relief fund to be established, at EU level. I am therefore very pleased to see the EU has finally recognised the importance of financial support, in what will be a very difficult time for our country. 

“However, this is not an Ireland only relief package. Everyone from German car manufactures to Spanish wine producers will be seeking a piece of the pie. Although announced by the European Council President, it is the Commission that will draft the details. It is crucial the Commission develops a formula which spreads support fairly among Member States.”
The Sligo based MEP stated the importance of a fair distribution of funding “In my opinion, you must look at the percentage loss to the sector and the impact this would have on the country’s economy. For example, Belgium chocolate exports to Britain may suffer but this will have a minuscule impact on the overall Belgium economy, allowing the Belgium government to take remedial measures. The Irish agri-food sector accounts for over 8% of Ireland’s GDP and employs in excess of 200,000 people. It is heavily dependant on exporting to Britain, and any disruption would create a ripple effect across the entire economy. Indeed, farmers have already weathered two years of severe price shocks.”

“This fundamental difference must be recognised by the European Commission, or we will end up with a package that gives everyone something, in the name of fairness, but saves nobody.”
MacManus concluded “I have submitted a parliamentary question to the European Commission, asking them to urgently make clear their intentions regarding how the funds will be shared out.  Sinn Féin is determined to see meaningful support in the hands of farmers and inadequate gestures will not be tolerated”.  ENDS

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