Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on the Government to press the European Union to withdraw the major super levy fine being imposed on Ireland. The charges will impede farmers’ ability to expand their dairy production capabilities following the abolition of milk quota.
Speaking during a Dáil debate on the challenges facing Europe Deputy Smith stated, “It is disappointing that the EU is imposing a super levy on farmers at the time when they need to expand. As a representative for Cavan and Monaghan, I am particularly conscious of the opportunity there is for farmers to expand but that needs investment, however this super levy will make it increasingly difficult for farmers to be able to afford any expansion plans”.
Referring to the workings of the European Union Deputy Smith commented, “Fianna Fáil is committed to a democratic and accountable European Union of member states who work together for the mutual benefit of all citizens. The EU must pursue policies which promote growth, equality and fairness for all its citizens. While we strongly believe that Ireland’s best interests politically and economically are best served by our remaining at the centre of the European Union and the Eurozone, we also believe that we must critically analyse all political developments in the European Union to ensure that the interests of the Irish people are best served by those developments”.
The Cavan-Monaghan TD stressed the importance of Ireland having a contingency plan in the event of a UK exit from the European Union. “Britain is Ireland’s biggest trading partner and close ally in the European institutions. It is also the only country with whom we share a land border and it is essential that there is a plan in place in the event that the UK decides to leave the EU. Coming from a rural parish that borders County Fermanagh I grew up with the customs posts and the permanent vehicle checkpoints – that is not an era we wish to return to”, added Deputy Smith.
“It would be an absolute nightmare if Ireland was a member of the Single Market and Britain was not. It would have a major impact on trade, commerce and developing business on both sides of the border. While we do not agree that the freedoms of the EU should be compromised to ensure Britain remains in the EU, the Union must show flexibility in other areas when engaging with Britain to prevent an exit where possible”.