Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has said that SDLP MLA Joe Byrne is attempting to ride two horses over the allocation of money to the Rural Development Programme.
Mr. McAleer said,
“Before Christmas Joe Byrne stated that the SDLP preferred option was that Rural Development Programme money was wholly directed towards farmers rather than used in a balanced way for the entire rural community.
“This is the same line that the DUP took when they forced a court case to stop DARD Minister Michelle O’Neill moving monies from Pillar I to Pillar II to resource projects for the rural community.
“However monies from Pillar II also go directly to farmers and small farmers will especially be severely impacted upon by failure to get monies transferred from Pillar I.
“Joe Byrne has now bizarrely called on the Minister to do the opposite of what he called for pre Christmas by stating she needs to put more money into Pillar II of the Rural Development Programme.
“It is now becoming abundantly clear that the SDLP are all over the place as they issue contradictory statements.
“While I understand that the SDLP attempt to have at least two positions on every policy it is time that Joe Byrne categorically stated where they stand on this issue.
“Will they again support the DUP in attempting to score a cheap political point against Sinn Féin or will they stand with us in supporting and creating sustainable rural communities.”