Fury at Tory hint to starve Ire­land

Sinn Fein hits out at ‘of­fen­sive’ hard­line Brex­i­teer

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS - BY MAU­RICE FITZMAURICE ir­[email protected]

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

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