PLEA TO MINISTERS BY REGIONAL ASSEMBLY IN 11TH-HOUR BID TO SAVE MUSHROOM INDUSTRY

28 October 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By PATSY McARDLE

AN INTENSIVE eleventh-hour campaign to protect the mushroom industry which faces huge difficulties pending the Brexit impact—with the drop in sterling severely hitting producers in Co. Monaghan and elsewhere, who are tied to contracts—was spearheaded by the Leas-Cathaoirleach of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, Fianna Fail councillor Seamus Coyle, at last Friday’s meeting of the influential eight-county body in Ballaghadereen .

Co. Monaghan’s representatives on the 25-member Assembly are the vice-chairman, Cllr. Coyle and Castleblayney Sinn Fein councilor, Jackie Crowe.

The Assembly, which meets monthly and represents the current local authority structure of the region, is composed of elected representatives from counties Monaghan, Cavan, Donegal, Galway, Galway City, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo.

Cllr. Coyle raised the plight of those engaged in the mushroom industry including the producers and those who had the benefit of good employment from various facets of the industry, in face of the scenario posed by the British withdrawal from the EU.

He said the situation is so serious for the 3,500 people employed in the sector that some 150 jobs were already lost and exports had fallen drastically to the value of €7 million.

Quoting the various estimated losses in the situation which mushroom producers are now facing , Cllr. Coyle claimed there would be devastating losses ranging from €300,000 to €500,000 in the farming sector in the wake of the pending Brexit ‘pull-out”.

Cllr. Coyle was also sharply critical of the fact that in the recent budget proposals no protection whatsoever was offered for the mushroom industry

He said Irish producers and exporters had hitherto the distinct advantage of fresh deliveries of mushrooms to the UK market but there was now the threat of Polish competition as a result of the non-protection of Irish producers.

Mr. Coyle proposed a motion at the meeting urging that the Assembly make a demand on the Minister for Agriculture and the Marine, Mr. Michael Creed T.D., along with the Minister for Finance Mr. Michael Noonan T.D., and the government to “immediately support Irish mushroom producers who …
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