There have been fears that English-grown potatoes will effectively disappear from the menu in Northern Ireland within days, unless a specific deal on tubers can be concluded by the UK government.
Long-time potato merchant Brendan Donnelly made the comments as the end of the transition period next Friday looms. He was backed up by DUP farming official William Irwin, who echoed the same worries about a de facto blockade on English potatoes. Both men said the issue is particularly important for traditional fish-and-chip shops, because the best potatoes to fry by far are not Irish-grown ones, but ones from warmer climes such as East Anglia.
The men voiced concern that potatoes which have not been scrubbed clean and have traces of earth on them will fall foul of the EU standards which NI must adhere to, in order to avoid cross-border trade disruption with the Republic of Ireland.
Brendan Donnelly pointed out that the island of Ireland imports 60,000 tonnes of potatoes like Maris Pipers and Marquis from Great Britain each year – adding chip shops will just not be able to find similar quality frying spuds either in Ireland or EU suppliers like the Dutch.
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