Fury at Tory hint to starve Ireland
Sinn Fein hits out at ‘offensive’ hardline Brexiteer
A TORY MP’S suggestion that food supplies to Ireland could be used to apply pressure in fresh Brexit negotiations has been slammed as “despicable”.
Leaked British government papers claim the Republic could face food shortages and a 7% drop in gross domestic product if the UK crashes out of the EU without a deal.
Sources quoted Conservative MP Priti Patel – the former International Development Secretary – saying this should be used as leverage in negotiations to get Ireland to drop its insistence on the backstop guarantee over the Irish border.
The Times newspaper reported trade in perishable goods, such as food supplies, would be particularly badly affected.
It is not clear what part of the UK government produced the report. Ms Patel said: “This paper appears to show the government were well aware Ireland will face significant issues in a no-deal scenario.
“Why hasn’t this point been pressed home during negotiations?”
Sinn Fein MP Chris Hazzard hit out at the comments.
The South Down MP said: “This proposal from Patel really exposes the Brexiteer attitude to Ireland as nothing more than a colonial irritant whose rights really shouldn’t be taken into account.
“They know the history of the Irish famine and Britain’s role in it. The fact they would inject that into the Brexit debate is crass and
offensive. The Tories couldn’t care less about the impact of their reckless Brexit agenda on the people and economy of Ireland. We are simply collateral damage.
“And this is precisely why we need a backstop; it is our only insurance policy against a hard border.”
But EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said Patel’s policy would lead “the starvation of the British people”.
He added it showed “how much out of touch” the Conservative MP was as the UK import 60% of its food while 43% comes from the Republic.
Mr Hogan, who is a Irish former Environment Minister, said: “If she wants to advocate a policy that brings about starvation of the British people this is a good way of going about it.”
The Irish Times reported officials in Dublin dismissed the British claims saying extensive preparations were under way to prepare for all Brexit scenarios, including food.
STORM Priti Patel