Ulster farmers fear being “conveniently ignored” during EU protests

A major demonstration by the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland is to be held at Stormont on Friday this week with the aim of sending a “very clear message” to the European Commission (EC) concerning the seriousness of the position facing all parts of the country’s farming and food industry.

Organised by the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU), the Belfast protest is timed to deliver the strongest possible message to the EC ahead of the “crunch meeting” of European farm ministers set for Monday, September 7, in Brussels.

UFU president, Ian Marshall, said that the Commission needed to realise that the entire economy of Northern Ireland, not just farmers, was involved in the current crisis.

“People in Northern Ireland understand the importance of a vibrant food industry to the local economy and our aim is to make sure this message is heard in Brussels,” said Mr Marshall (pictured above).

“We also don’t want to be in a situation where the EU farm commissioner, Phil Hogan, sees protests in Dublin, Paris or anywhere else but not in Belfast, and uses that as a reason to conveniently ignore us.”

The UFU president added that a “sizeable delegation” of Northern Ireland farmers would also join forces with farmers from across the EU at the Brussels protest.

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