Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has said that he fully supports the campaign launched by a group of farmers representing those in Severely Disadvantaged Areas (SDA) in Derrygonnelly Community Centre last Thursday night.
Mr. Flanagan, who attended the meeting with well over 400 people, said:
“I was delighted to attend this meeting, to hear first-hand the concerns of farmers in West Fermanagh about the potential outworking’s of the proposals suggested by the Ulster Farmers Union, particularly the suggestions that the North should be divided into sub-regions for the purposed of CAP funding and that the north will not move to a flat rate of payment by 2019, as was previously proposed.
“Sinn Féin, which was well represented at the meeting, fully supports SDA farmers and aims to ensure a viable, fair and sustainable funding stream for SDA farmers. This is despite the best efforts of some farmers groups and indeed political parties to protect large farmers in good land areas at the expense of small, SDA based farmers.
“It is clear that there is a lack of representation amongst SDA based farmers in some farmers groups.
“In order to address this current problem, I have requested an urgent meeting with the Agricultural Minister Michelle O’Neill to ensure that she is aware of the concerns of farmers in disadvantaged areas like West Fermanagh and that any decisions she takes on the future of CAP payments meet the needs of farmers in the most difficult terrain, where it is most difficult to earn a living.”