Northern Ireland news

Brexit concerns aired at Irish Food Writers' Guild Awards

Some of the winners at the Irish Food Writers Guild Awards, held in Dublin yesterday. Picture by Paul Sherwood

CONCERNS about the impact of Brexit on the Irish food and drinks industry have been raised at the Irish Food Writers' Guild annual awards in Dublin.

The awards event heard how the Irish food industry needs to be prepared for Brexit amid fears for the possible repercussion in the sector across Ireland.

The ceremony, which took place yesterday at Glovers Alley restaurant in Dublin, honours the best produce on offer north and south of the border with three producers from Northern Ireland selected for an accolade.

Organisers said the geographical spread of the awards, now in its 25th year, demonstrated "the all-island approach that, as a nation, we take to food production, supply and quality standards".

Cheesemaker Mike Thomson from Young Buck Cheese in Newtownards, Co Down and Charlie Cole of Broughgammon Farm in Ballycastle, Co Antrim were both awarded prizes.

A lifetime achievement award was presented to Peter Hannan, founder of Hanna Meats in Moira, Co Down while there were also winners from counties Cork, Louth and Dublin.

But Kristin Jensen, chairperson of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, warned that the Irish food industry needs to make preparations for Brexit.

"With the food industry gearing up for the impact of Brexit and with the threat of UK tariffs a real possibility, it is incumbent on us all, government, industry and consumers, to protect and support our abundance of incredible food producers, who have played a significant role in helping position Ireland as a food tourism destination," she said.

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