Brexit readiness for businesses and challenges to the agriculture sector are top of agenda for Ireland’s newest MEP and former Louth County Councillor Colm Markey, who officially began working in the role today.
The former Louth County Councillor takes up his post as a member of the European Parliament for the Midlands North-West constituency at a plenary session in Brussels on Monday.
He is replacing another Louth native, Mairead McGuinness, following her appointment as EU Commissioner and will join his four Fine Gael MEP colleagues in the European People’s Party.
MEP Markey said: “I am delighted to take up my seat as the newest Member of the European Parliament on Monday. It is an absolute honour to represent the Midlands North-West constituency in Europe.
“I look forward to hitting the ground running and working with my fellow Fine Gael MEPs on the issues that matter for Ireland.”
Mr Markey officially became an MEP today after the European Parliament received notification of his appointment from the clerk of the Dáil.
A Togher-based farmer and businessman by background, Mr Markey will take a seat on the Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development as the vital negotiations on a new Common Agricultural Policy continue at EU level.
He will also serve as a Member on the Transport and Tourism Committee and a substitute Member of the Fisheries Committee.
MEP Markey continued: “I am particularly mindful that my appointment comes at a crucial time for Europe and for Ireland.
"The ongoing talks on a future relationship between the UK and EU will have serious implications on the Midlands North-West constituency, particularly for those in border counties and the agri-food industry.
“As a former national president of Macra Na Feirme, I was responsible for negotiating on behalf of 8,000 members at both Government and European level and will build on this experience to ensure the needs of farmers in Ireland are met.”
MEP Markey continued: “The fundamental challenges facing businesses, large and small, across the island cannot be overstated. Any business moving goods to, from, or through Great Britain will be subject to a range of SPS checks, customs measures, and other burdensome requirements.
“The need for Irish businesses, especially in the food and drink sector, to take every necessary precaution ahead of December 31st cannot be clearer. It is imperative that businesses consult government advisory services to mitigate the cost of future regulatory requirements when trading with the United Kingdom.
“It is also a time of global crisis and the EU is working to support Member States dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and economic fallout.
“I am deeply committed to ensuring I represent my constituents and Ireland’s best interests on these and other vital issues as an MEP.”
MEP Markey was first elected to Louth County Council in 2009. He joins his four other Fine Gael MEP delegation colleagues Seán Kelly, Deirdre Clune, Frances Fitzgerald and Maria Walsh.