Ritchie Says She Will Strive To Protect Farming And Fishing In Brexit Deal

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has served as South Down MP since 6 May 2010 and is aiming for another term at Westminster. She intends to provide a strong voice there for South Down and Northern Ireland in the coming Brexit deal with the EU.

She said: “While farmers and fishermen will not be sorry to see the end of EU bureaucracy, the withdrawal from the European Union has left uncertainty within our farming and fishing communities.

Margaret Ritchie, SDLP Westminster candidate, chats to local County Down farmer John Carson about Brexit.

“Our farming and fishing industries both require a strong negotiating  position to ensure that their industries do not suffer as a result of the withdrawal of much needed subsidies in the case of our farming industry and changes in any territorial fishing rights and regulations that could be to the detriment of the fishing industry.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood pictured with Westminster candidate Margaret Ritchie, the out-going MP for South Down, just after the party manifesto launch at the Newcastle Centre.

“As a member of the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee at Westminster, I was at the forefront of ensuring that the UK Government understood the needs of both our farming and fishing industries and how both these industries have needs and strengths distinct from their UK counterparts.

“After this election on 8 June,  the Westminster Government will begin the detailed work of not only negotiating trade and export deals that will directly impact the fishing and farming industry, but they will also make decisions on the level of support that these industries should receive and how the transitional period with regard to subsidised incomes will go forward over the next few years.

“I want to be there in the committee rooms and on the floor of the House of Commons making the strong case for the farming and fishing industries. Both industries are particularly vulnerable to any hard border on land or at sea and it is vital that we have an MP who will take their seat in Westminster and bring the detailed case for these industries directly to the relevant Ministers, ensuring that the House of Commons hears first-hand what South Down can offer by way of top quality farm and fish produce and what we need from any future Brexit deal to ensure the continued sustainability and growth of our faring and fishing industries.

“Fishing and Farming are large-scale economic drivers in South Down and we must ensure that we are in a position post-Brexit to protect and grow these industries,” added Ms Ritchie.

Intent on getting a good deal for fishermen and the fishing industry: Margaret Ritchie at Kilkeel harbour.