CIEH Year Ahead conference: Ireland and Brexit

27 November 2017 


Ireland and Brexit

Sam Cleal, Digital Content Executive

We spoke with Gary McFarlane about his session at our upcoming Year Ahead conference


On 7 December 2017, we are holding our annual Year Ahead conference with the all-important theme of regulation at the forefront. The conference, entitled ‘CIEH Year Ahead Conference: Regulation in a Changing World’, will bring together senior stakeholders in both business and Government sectors for a jam-packed one day event that discusses ROF, sentencing, Primary Authority and so much more! 

One extremely important vantage point will be the impact of Brexit on regulation. In that respect, Environmental Health News spoke with CIEH Director for Northern Ireland (NI) Gary McFarlane about his session, ‘Brexit, borders & devolution: conundrums, challenges & consequences’, and how Ireland will fit into the UK’s stated objective of a ‘frictionless border’ post-Brexit. 

“At present, it seems like each of the parties engaged in these discussions are in their respective corners. The Republic of Ireland (ROI) seem to see Brexit as a problem that the UK has to find solutions to, as do the EU. Yet the reality, in my view, is that this problem is everyone’s problem. 

Ireland and Brexit    Ireland and Brexit    Ireland and Brexit 

The reality is that Brexit is everyone's problem


A hard border between NI and ROI would be disastrous – economically, socially and politically. No one here wants that. Finding a solution will require all parties involved to work together and compromise. At the very least in NI we need to maintain, if not improve, our existing systems of animal welfare and food safety – which currently align with EU requirements – to have any prospect of ensuring the already significant trade between the two parts of this island. And, of course, this needs to be extended to include England, Scotland and Wales. 

Indeed, I would argue that this is an opportunity for a much more circular food economy within these islands, which has clear environmental, health and societal benefits. What we should not do, in my view, is lower our standards and look for other trade deals outside of the EU. Do we really want to start eating chlorine-washed chicken or beef pumped full of antibiotics from countries like the US?” 

You can catch Gary’s ‘Brexit, borders & devolution’ session at either 12.15 or 14.00 during the workshops portion of the conference. His session is one of 5 options including ‘Brexit and Food Control’, ‘Impact of Sentencing Guidelines Changes’, ‘Regulating our future and Primary Authority’ and ‘Digital councils – what does the future look like?’ Find out more here. 


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