New APPG Celebrates Best Food Products from Northern Ireland in Parliament
The new Northern Ireland All-Party Parliamentary Group kicked off its programme of events for 2023 with ‘A Taste of Northern Ireland’ yesterday in the Jubilee Room of the Houses of Parliament.
The event was a resounding success and welcomed hundreds of people, including MPs, Peers and guests from all political affiliations and those with none, through the doors to the showcase of some of Northern Ireland’s finest small food and drink producers.
This was a true display of cross-Party and cross-community support for the food and drink manufacturers across the six counties of Northern Ireland. The event had MP representatives from all main parties at the event, including DUP, SDLP, Alliance Party, Conservative Party, Labour Party, Liberal Democrat and SNP as well as Crossbench and Independent Peers in attendance.
Ian Paisley MP, Chairman of the Northern Ireland APPG said: “I would like to say a big thank you to all of the small independent businesses who flew over from Northern Ireland and supported our event, including Craic Foods, Burren Balsamics, The Chocolate Manor, Crawfords Rock Seaweed Company, Irish Black Butter, Blackfire Food Belfast, Finnebrogue, Food NI, Hinch Distillery and Ballylisk Cheese.
In Northern Ireland we only have a population of 2 million but produce enough for 70 million people, we have some of the best food and drink producers in the United Kingdom and we want to continue sending those products to Great Britain as well as exporting them further afield.”
The Rt. Hon. Steve Baker MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, attended in the event and in his speech said: “I just want to say thank you to everyone who has come to this event today, the vendors, the businesses which have sent over their products, the people who have come out to see this incredible display of Northern Ireland produced food and drink.
“It was a true honour to meet some of the people and small artisan businesses, and taste their produce, who are the real backbone of the Northern Irish economy.
“Our goal is stability for businesses in Northern Ireland and let me assure you, we are all working towards that.”
Christine Cousins, Events Manager at Food NI, said: “We were delighted to be a part of this showcase, the work being done by the Northern Ireland APPG is sincerely appreciated by all food and drink manufacturers in Northern Ireland.
“It is important that we get to showcase our top class produce here in Great Britain and enhance the visibility of our already highly sought after food and drink products, made in Northern Ireland.
“We were delighted to exhibit a wide range of products including Copeland Rum, Long Meadow cider and apple juice, Olive Tree Bakery wheaten bread, Milgro crispy onions, Whitewater brewery IPA, Kenako biltong, Granny Shaw’s fudge and tablet, Abernethy Butter and Hinch Distillery whiskey.”
Mark Logan MP, Vice Chairman of the Northern Ireland APPG and Conservative MP for Bolton North East said: “This afternoon I am resigning myself to some good scran, some of it I hope will be like what my Granny used to cook, I am resigning myself to thinking what supermarket shelves, restaurant tables and fridges all around the UK filled with stuff which Northern Ireland has to offer and what is on show today.”
Alliance Party MP for North Down, Stephen Farry MP said: “I would like to thank everyone for coming along and supporting this event today, especially those who have travelled all the way from Northern Ireland.
“It is a wonderful time and indeed place to showcase the wonderful food and drink we have in Northern Ireland. We are world leaders in many ways and areas, especially when it comes to innovation.
“We are incredibly proud of the small artisan companies which we have, some of whom were there yesterday afternoon with us. There are more and more of these wonderful businesses springing up almost everyday across our six counties and that is something we can all be proud of.”