SDLP agriculture spokesperson Patsy
McGlone and Fianna Fáil counterpart Charlie McConalogue led a delegation last week to meet the DAERA Per-manent Secretary to raise concerns about Brexit’s implications for the agri-food sector.
Mid-Ulster MLA Mr McGlone said: “As Westminster causes another crisis, the SDLP held a meeting with senior officials at DAERA to address concerns for the wider agriculture community in the event of a no deal Brexit, and the implications that stem from that.
“The department advised us they have trained 400 Trade Certification Officers and are recruiting more vets in preparations for Brexit.”
He said it was “extremely worrying” that the department had received no additional funding to deal with the situation.
Mr McGlone went on: “Some agri-food sectors, reliant on cross-border trade and access to other EU markets, remain particularly exposed.
“Another issue raised by the delegation, which has caused a lot of community concern, were reports that radioactive waste management were considering the North as a location for dumping radioactive waste.
“The department assured us there were no such plans and they had received no approaches about any proposals to dispose of such waste in the North.
“We also requested a brief of the current status of gold mining planning applications. We reiterated our previously stated environmental and health concerns about any such proposals, including opposition to the use of cyanide in the mining process and, given the level of concerns, the need for a full public enquiry into this planning application where all issues can be openly examined under public gaze and scrutiny.”