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UFU to attend all-Ireland forum over Brexit

By Margaret Canning

Published 11/10/2016

Invite: Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Invite: Taoiseach Enda Kenny

The Ulster Farmers' Union has said it will take part in an all-island Brexit conference which is set to take place next month. The Republic's Foreign Affairs Minister Dara Murphy has said that Taoiseach Enda Kenny wants to hear the views of Northern Ireland groups.

And they were urged to attend the event in Dublin. According to the Sunday Times, employers organisation the CBI in Northern Ireland, along with the UFU, are both being urged to attend.

The CBI in Northern Ireland said it had not been invited to the event and did not say whether or not it would attend.

But the UFU said it would be willing to represent its Northern Ireland members at the conference.

The union said: "Attendance would reflect the union's policy of wide engagement, since Brexit is a huge issue for its members across all farming enterprises.

"The union's aim is to secure a Brexit outcome that protects the interests of farmers and the food industry in Northern Ireland, and that part of that will be to maintain the traditional cross-border trade in agricultural products.

"The union stresses its involvement is non-political, and a reflection of its policy of wide engagement to secure an acceptable Brexit outcome for farmers."

Dara Murphy, the Republic's Foreign Affairs Minister, said that Prime Minister Theresa May and the Taoiseach would be the only leaders involved in Brexit negotiations next year.

"There will be two people around that table from both of our islands, and, where people have concerns, it is a good opportunity now to raise them with members of the Irish government.

"This will help to inform our own priorities with respect to the negotiations."

However, the DUP has refused to take part in the process.

Meanwhile, a proposal from the UK government to use entry points to the Republic as its front line in combating post-Brexit illegal immigration would work well for the UK - but could become "politically sensitive" for the Republic, it has been claimed.

Economist John Simpson said the plan, which was reported in the Guardian, would be a convenient way for the UK to avoid imposing a hard border between Northern Ireland the Republic.

But he said it could be deemed "politically insensitive" if the Republic was seen by its fellow EU members to be permitting the UK as a former EU member to control its borders from within the Irish state.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire told the Guardian that London would work with Dublin to strengthen the Republic's external borders to combat illegal immigration.

Shifting the onus of immigration control to Irish entry points such as Rosslare in Co Cork would ease the pressure to control immigration by carrying out controls at the 300-mile border.

Belfast Telegraph

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