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Sinn Fein spokesperson for Women and MLA for West Belfast, Jennifer McCann has stated that Michelle Gildernew is an example to us all balancing her work as a government Minister with a full and active family life. Speaking on the first day of Michelle Gildernew's maternity leave from the Assembly Ms McCann said:

"Many women in working life with families, and indeed many who would like to access employment opportunities, will look at Michelle Gildernew as a role model. At the highest level of Government Michele as a Minister is able and capable of delivering in Agriculture and Rural Affairs and still have a full and active family life.

"The demands on mothers, or mothers to be, in working life in today's society are high. Michelle and many women like her are an example to us all, but even more of an example to those who would detract from any mothers capabilities to do a full time job, with high level of commitment, and balance this with raising a family.

"We would all like to wish Michelle the best for the final days of pregnancy for the coming weeks." CRÍOCH


Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader John O'Dowd MLA has dismissed the comments of DUP Finance Minister Nigel Dodds about the September monitoring round as a 'misrepresentation of the facts'.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Mr Dodds knows that there is no need for an Executive meeting to sign off on the September monitoring round. A mechanism has already been established to resolve such issues through urgent procedures.

"There has already been agreement on the use of these written procedures. Nigel Dodds has not requested written procedures. He knows that this issue could have been resolved quickly and easily yet he is playing politics with issues such as additional money for Education and the issue of fuel poverty to disguise the failures of the DUP.

"Sinn Fein want to see an Executive meeting as soon as possible. The choice for the DUP and Nigel Dodds is simple; do they support the Agreements upon which the Executive was built or not; are they really up for government at all or not." ENDS


Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has slammed the failure by Invest NI to address regional inequalities in investment across the North of Ireland. Speaking in the Assembly today through a Sinn Féin motion outlining this issue Ms Anderson said:

"The Programme for Government pledged all Government Departments and agencies, including Invest NI, "to develop new and innovative measures that will address existing patterns of socio-economic disadvantage and target resources and efforts towards those in greatest objective need".

"To date Invest NI have failed in the delivery of this and in fact have actually lobbied new investors not to locate in certain areas.

"Invest NI and DETI have also refused to provide Sinn Féin with detailed statistics about the actual number of jobs created or lost, by reference to parliamentary constituency generally and, specifically, client companies in Foyle. Their excuse was the absence of a so-called 'comprehensive dataset'.

"Invest NI and DETI have also refused to provide detailed statistics about the actual amount of financial assistance provided and the actual overall investment secured by reference to parliamentary constituencies generally and, specifically, client companies in Foyle. They claimed this information would cost too much to publish. Presumably they meant the cost to their own credibility."

"The very failure to provide investment and therefore jobs into these regions is a glaring example of over 90 years of disadvantage into areas such as West and North Belfast, Foyle and Fermanagh/South Tyrone. This is the worst excesses of big house Unionism perpetuating inequalities for the nationalist/republican and working class unionist communities.

"This cannot be allowed to continue and Sinn Fein will strive to deliver inward investment across the board to raise all other regions to the level that Invest NI have given some privileged and protected areas."


The patterns of inequality uncovered by Sinn Féin in the period since then are

1) One in three of all first-time inward investment projects promoted by Invest NI was in South Belfast but not the Markets or Donegall Pass;

2) One in two of all new jobs promoted by Invest NI was in the three north-eastern constituencies - South Belfast, East Belfast and East Antrim;

3) The constituencies of East Derry and North Antrim - held by two DUP MPs - had no new first-time Invest NI inward investment projects promoted in the last decade;

4) South Belfast routinely had more Invest NI jobs and projects promoted - on a range of indicators - than the combined total for the entire border corridor of Foyle, West Tyrone, Fermanagh and South Tyrone, and Newry and Armagh.


Sinn Fein MLA for North Belfast, Carál ní Chuilín, has slammed the decision by Unionist Ministers, North Belfast MLA Nigel Dodds and Michael McGimpsey, sitting on Belfast City Council who voted against a planned housing development in North Belfast. Ms ní Chuilín stated that it was duplicitous of the Minister who signed up for the Programme of Government and the Equality agenda in Stormont to be voting against this in the City Council.

Speaking today Ms ní Chuilín said:

"This is a much needed housing development in North Belfast. There is an massive waiting list for housing in the North of the city, 83% of which is from the nationalist community. This new development would go some way to addressing this.

"However at this months Full Council meeting at Belfast City Hall Unionist Ministers voted against it.

"The excuses they gave for doing so were weak and clearly exposed the sectarian nature behind their decisions. They argued that there would be noise disturbances to nearby residents and that it would create another interface. You only have to go and look at the site where the development will be to see this would clearly not be the case.

"Both the DUP and UUP signed up for the Programme for Government and the Equality agenda yet here we have two Unionist Ministers voting against the provision of much needed housing in North Belfast. This is an extremely duplicitous and underhanded move. It boils down to unionists signing up to equality in one institution while riding roughshod over equality in another."


Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, has outlined her arrangements as Minister covering her maternity leave.

Speaking today Ms Gildernew said:

"Over the period of my maternity leave I will still maintain legal authority for the ministry. I will be briefed once a week for a half a day a week by advisers who will be travelling to my private office in Loughrey and at these meetings I will also be able to sign off on any papers.

"In my absence however issues will be dealt with by a selection of substitute Sinn Féin Ministers who will be filling in on my Ministerial duties and engagements so I know the departments responsibilities re in good hands.

"All in all though I


Speaking to the media at Leinster House today Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said 'The Minister for Finance has been given extensive powers over the Irish banking sector and it is of utmost importance that these powers are used in the national interest. This means cleaning up the banking sector, ensuring a proper payback for the Irish taxpayer and support for small businesses and home owners at risk because of reckless practices of financial institutions.

Deputy Morgan also announced that he has been in touch with both Fine Gael and Labour in an attempt to form a combined opposition lobby for a meeting with the Finance Minister and Government party spokespersons on Finance to try and agree an all party consensus on the terms and conditions of the insurance deal with Irish banks.

Deputy Morgan said, "The Minister for Finance has been given extensive powers over the Irish banking sector and it is of utmost importance that these powers are used in the national interest. This means cleaning up the banking sector, ensuring a proper payback for the Irish taxpayer and support for small businesses and home owners at risk because of reckless practices of financial institutions. At the very minimum there must be:

· Introduction of strict regulatory regime to monitor bank practice and rigorous oversight to ensure delivery. Given the ineptitude of the Central Bank and the Financial Regulator this needs to be done by an individual independent of the banking sector, who is fully accountable to the Dáil.

· Full disclosure by each of the financial institutions of their level of debt to see exactly what the situation is in terms of toxic loans and other issues.

· A new bank levy to be introduced with immediate effect, a proportion of this money should be diverted to MABS to help homeowners currently in difficulty.

· Requirement on bank management to forego bonuses for the length of time covered by this guarantee

· Review of salary structure of executive level management

· Pay should now be awarded on the basis of consistent salaries -- not on performance returns and risk

· Two year performance review of all those in executive level management

· Requirement to negotiate with mortgage holders on low incomes a plan for the reasonable repayment of their mortgage, including a moratorium on home repossessions of those families struggling to make payments

· Initiatives to review the writing off of negative equity in homes

· A refocus of banking business in support of indigenous small and medium business particularly those in the export sector

"Sinn Féin has been calling for a meeting of all party Finance spokespersons in order to form a consensus on the terms and conditions to be negotiated. This morning I have been in touch with both Fine Gael and Labour in order to establish a combined opposition lobby for such a meeting." ENDS


Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has urged the Health Minister to abandon plans to cut the level of ambulance provision here.

Ms. Anderson was speaking during Tuesday's Stormont debate on Minister Michael McGimpsey's planned efficiency savings which will lead to a reduction of staffing hours and the replacement of many ambulances with less well-equipped Rapid Response Vehicles.

"In my own constituency of Derry, the underinvestment in the ambulance service was exposed in the most dramatic fashion recently when the same ambulance broke down twice in as many weeks while answering a call-out.

"Both those incidents could easily have led to a tragedy and I believe it is only by sheer good fortune that they did not.

"I would also refer to recent reports which revealed that the city was without adequate ambulance cover for several hours on a Thursday night because there were simply not enough appliances available.

"That is a situation that has occurred time and time again and we are aware of a number of incidents - some of which resulted in fatalities - where ambulances have had to attend from as far away as Fermanagh because there were none available in Derry.

"That is a shocking situation and it is simply intolerable that any area - let lone a city the size of Derry - should be left without adequate ambulance cover for any period of time.

"So, it is clear that much more needs to be done and the Minister needs to address the concerns of the people and abandon these plans.

"I would also be keen to hear what his plans are regarding greater co-operation with the health authorities in the 26 Counties, particularly in border areas such as Derry.

"To be very blunt, the issue of adequate ambulance cover boils down to a matter of life and death and these cuts will devastate people right across the Six Counties." ENDS


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has said that Europe could use some of the billions unspent in the CAP Budget to develop a package to support our hard pressed sheep farmers.

Ms de Brún said:

"I recently highlighted the gap between what is available under the CAP budget and what will be spent, with an underspend of almost £2.9 billion in the CAP Budget this year. Even when the package to support farming in the developing world, the 'Food Facility', is approved there will still be over £2 billion in 2008 that could be used to make a real and lasting difference in some of our most hard pressed sectors.

"The sheep industry in Ireland is an important part of our farming heritage involving thousands of farmers producing an exceptional product that makes a vital socio-economic contribution to our rural communities. There is a difficulty for sheep farming in less favourable areas and for young farmers coming into the sector.

"Europe has set out its intention to take the bull by the horns and tackle the abuse of power by the large supermarkets with the Written Declaration on investigating and remedying this abuse and the establishment of a high level working group looking at the Agri-Food Industry. The simple fact that the return to the producer for sheepmeat, and indeed for many agricultural products, as a percentage of the retail price is just not enough.

"The EU Commission should do more to support direct sales by the producer and producer organisations in order to overcome the artificial manipulation of farmgate and retail prices. I would like to see the Commission develop programmes that encourage producer/marketing groups that can develop this direct marketing approach and also support farm innovation." ENDS

Note to Editors

Last week Ms de Brún highlighted an underspend of nearly £2.9 billion (3.6 billion Euro) in its 2008 Common Agriculture Programme (CAP) Budget.

The Financial Perspectives (FP) are financial ceilings for the period 2007-2013. The CAP budget is agreed annually by member states, based on the needs of the sector. Annual budgets may not exceed the FP ceilings. The CAP Budget in 2008 is some €3.6 billion less than the FP ceiling for that year.

The €3.6b unused margin between the CAP Budget and the FP Ceiling in 2008 will ensure that the Financial Perspectives are not breached even if, as expected, the Food Facility proposal is approved by the European Parliament and European Council and a margin of €2.95b would remain in 2008.

The Commission has already built in a specific protection for the CAP. The draft regulation provides that the amount proposed for the Food Facility each year must leave a minimum margin of at least €600 million between the CAP Budget and the FP Ceiling. This means that if the CAP Budget came within €600m of the FP ceiling, the Food Facility budget would be reduced until the margin is restored. It also means that the SFP is protected, because cuts in the SFP (degressivity) only kick in when the margin is reduced below €300m.


Sinn Féin Workers Rights Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has today described the Aer Lingus plan to outsource a quarter of its workforce as totally unacceptable. The Deputy also slammed Taoiseach Brian Cowen for turning his back on Irish workers, "Brian Cowen's statement that Aer Lingus is a private company that must make its own commercial decisions is a politically weak and disingenuous reaction to the airlines cost cutting plans."

Speaking from Leinster House the Louth TD said:

"Aer Lingus management are facing challenging economic times and the company's losses of €22 million during the first six months of the year with further losses forecast must be addressed. However the company is not in a financial crisis. Despite the current global finance crisis fuel prices continue to fall. Management's proposal to shed a quarter of the company's workforce is simply not a proportionate response to the company's current financial situation.

"Aer Lingus staff and their representative unions have over the years worked with management during times of restructuring and cost cutting. It is also worth remembering that commitments were made by Aer Lingus management to workers during the privatisation of the airline that the jobs would not be outsourced.

"Aer Lingus employees now face a similar situation to the Irish Ferries workers in 2005, the outsourcing of their jobs to lower paid workers and in some instances workers from outside the state. This is not acceptable particularly from a company that the people of this state have a 25% shareholding in.

"We cannot underestimate the scope of what Aer Lingus management is proposing nor the precedent it sets for companies throughout the state. This is against the backdrop of government's refusal to introduce legislation that would guarantee workers equal pay for equal work.

"Aer Lingus is being hollowed out to the benefit of a small number of shareholders, but to the detriment of the Irish people. Undermining fundamental workers right, terms and conditions is not in the interest of the state as a whole. As a major shareholder of the company on behalf of the Irish people the government can and must step in." ENDS


Sinn Féin Junior Minister and MLA for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has welcomed the return of St Josephs Church to the Sailortown Community. This follow a long campaign by Saoilortown residents following the closure of the church in 2001.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

"The announcement that St Josephs Church is to be returned to the Sailortown community for their use is a welcome step by the Down and Connor Diocese.

"Congratulations are due to those of St Josephs congregation and others who have fought tirelessly to prevent the demolition of dereliction of the church since closure in 2001. The fact that the Sailortown Regeneration Group will now be taking the project forward will, I hope, secure the future of St Josephs.

"This is a great step forward for the regeneration of the area. New private and social housing is at present being built around the church which has always been the heartbeat of the docks community.

"I understand that there remains a restricted covenanting on the building which prohibits any religious service. I will be in contact with the diocese on this issue as I have been approached by members of the congregation in order to see this resolved." CRÍOCH


Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has stated that the those responsible for the bomb on the Wattlebridge, near to Newtonbutler offer nothing positive and can deliver even less.

Speaking today Ms Gildernew said:

"Those engaged in these activities should stop. They offer nothing positive and can deliver even less. Those who engaged in this activity have little support and their actions will not advance Irish Unity. Sinn Féin have a strategy for Irish Unity and will not be deflected.

"However there is a clear cycle here exposed by Tom Elliot. Those who carried this act out are feeding off those unionists who are trying to slow the pace of change and refuse to engage in a positive and constructive manner.

"In turn, Tom Elliott calling for the return of the British Army is not sensible. He is giving these groups exactly what they want.

"The responsibility of all politicians is to demonstrate that politics can deliver change - social, economic and political change. This includes Unionists politicians who need to play their part in working to move forward together." CRÍOCH


Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has stated that many who follow the GAA are fast loosing confidence in Gregory Campbell's ability to act in an impartial and fair manner as a Minister for all.

Speaking today Mr McElduff said:

"Gregory Campbell's constantly belligerent and dogmatic approach to the GAA and its supporters has led many to question his ability to acknowledge all traditions sporting beliefs and endeavours as a Minister .

"It is now two weeks from the fantastic Tyrone All Ireland success and one week since we saw a fantastic Tyrone double with the Minor win yet we still have no statement of congratulations on the DCAL website, not to mention any word of a reception for Tyrone players in Stormont.

"It is not to late for him to approach this issue in a inclusive and fair manner. The people who have a Gaelic Ireland view of the world are fast loosing confidence fast in his ability to act as a Minister who is impartial in the discharge of his duty.

"At a time when GAA halls are being targeted in arson attacks, comments such as Gregory's need to be if anything measured, courteous and respectful of a sporting tradition that has one of the biggest and most vibrant support bases across this island." CRÍOCH


Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has welcomed a report from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child calling for an end to academic selection.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child report was published following receipt of a joint submission from the Children's Commissioners from the North of Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales.

In their submission, the Commissioners noted that academic selection at 11 disadvantages low academic achievers and those with complex social and emotional needs. The Commissioners recommended replacing academic selection with a fairer system that honours all children's rights to education.

The minister said:

"This report from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child recognises that our education system is two tiered and recommends the ending of selection to ensure that all children are included in admission arrangements in post-primary schools.

"I welcome this recommendation and I continue to work for an education system in the North of Ireland which does not judge 10 and 11 year olds. All our children should have access to the best education we can offer and that is what must be achieved."



Sinn Féin Mid Ulster MLA and Deputy Chair of the Assembly Health Committee, Michele O'Neill has welcomed the initiative taken by Supermarket chain Sainsbury's, in highlighting the number of units contained in alcoholic drinks sold within their stores.

Speaking today Ms O'Neill said,

"This is a very welcome move on the part of Sainsbury's and one that other supermarkets and licensed premises should consider implementing also.

There is growing concern around the increasing dependency on alcohol within our society. Any move to educate people of what exactly they are drinking is vital, it allows people to be better informed about the amount of units contained in the drink they are purchasing.

Alcohol dependency is an issue of concern for all of us and I would call on consumers to study this information and take it into account when purchasing alcohol."



The Sinn Féin EU Election Convention for the representation of the Six Counties, for the forthcoming 2009 European Parliament Elections, will be taking place at the Europa Hotel on Thursday 9th of October 2008.

The doors will open at 7pm for the Election Convention to begin at 7:30pm


Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has today slammed the government for its intention to substantially increase third level registration fees. The Donegal Senator has described the cabinet’s decision as “an underhand effort to reintroduce third level fees via the back door.”


The Donegal Senator said:


“Those on low and middle incomes are already struggling to meet increased food and fuel prices. The additional costs of putting a young person through third level are already challenging for ordinary families yet in the current economic climate getting young people into college is now more than ever critical for the states economic viability. We need an educated and skilled workforce, that’s the bottom line.


“Ireland’s educational expenditure is one of the lowest in Europe – it is below OECD average as a percentage of GDP. Sinn Féin has long argued for investment in education should be based on a percentage of 6 per cent of GDP. Access to education is a right not a privilege.


“The abolition of fees in the mid 1990s was a progressive move, but has been fundamentally undermined by successive Fianna Fáil led governments who have failed to invest the economic boom into the country’s future. Now as we now face into fiscal uncertainty the government’s cash cow approach to the public purse over the last ten years is becoming acutely evident.


“With third level registration fees costing up to €980 and a lack of student supports such as childcare and accommodation supplements students and their families already shoulder a considerable financial burden. Mature students have in most instances to pay full fees when they seek to up or re-skill.


“Education is the cornerstone of this country’s economic future. We face uncertain times and traditional employment sectors such as manufacturing and construction are in steady decline. Government regularly talks up the need for a knowledge economy but in real terms has never seriously invested in nor planned for it. This needs to change however government’s latest decision on registration fees does not indicate it is ready to make such a leap.” ENDS


Sinn Féin attend special briefing hosted by 'Lifeline'

Sinn Féin MLA's Sue Ramsey and Jennifer McCann both attended a special briefing organised by 'Lifeline' at the Long Gallery in the Assembly this morning.

Lifeline is a service delivered by Contact Youth Counselling, which provides support for people in crisis or distress across the North of Ireland.

Commenting after the briefing, Assembly Health Committee member Sue Ramsey said,

"Lifeline is a vital service which provides much needed assistance to those suffering from distress, anxiety or seeking help for loved ones or themselves. Since its launch, lifeline has received over 30,000 calls; while this is encouraging in the sense that people are seeking help through this service, it also indicates the very real distress that people are enduring across the Six Counties.

Lifeline's work must be commended and I encourage anyone who feels they need to speak with someone about their concerns to get in touch with them on 0808 808 8000."



Following the call by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors for movement by the Assembly to deliver more public sector construction work Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff, Chairperson of the Assembly Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee urged the Culture Minister Gregory Campbell to get on with delivering on the sites potential and the creation thousands of much needed jobs.

Mr McElduff said:

"Minister Campbell must be decisive and move the Long Kesh project forward. For too long internal DUP splits and divisions have been allowed to stall this project. In short the DUP have conspired to make a complete mess of the entire proposal.

"The DUP needs to show vision for the future. The debate around the Long Kesh site has been going on for well over 10 years now. The inquisition is now over; it is time to act.

"There is huge economic uncertainty and serious pressure on the construction industry.

Today we see the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors coming out strongly for public sector construction projects be delivered to help make jobs. This is a major project that can inject life into the building sector creating thousands of jobs.

"What we need to see now is action and an end to DUP rivalries which are holding up a lot of valuable construction industry jobs." CRÍOCH


Sinn Féin Transport Minister Conor Murphy today handed over the keys of 30 fully accessible minibuses to representatives of Rural Community Transport Partnerships.

The minibuses, which were procured by Translink for the Department for Regional Development at a cost of £1.3m, will be used by the partnerships to provide specialised transport services in rural areas throughout the north.

At the event, which took place at Parliament Buildings, the minister said:

"I am delighted to hand over these vehicles and hope that this clearly demonstrates our commitment to providing better access to training, job opportunities and recreation to those people in our rural communities.

"I believe by providing support to our Rural Partnerships we help to tackle the factors that all too often lead to social exclusion. This support should ensure the continuation of high quality transport services in rural areas."

Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew, who was also at the event, said:

"I am very keen to promote and increase any initiative which makes life easier for rural people. I welcome this investment which provides much needed transport services to people with reduced mobility living in rural areas across the North. The services, offered by Rural Community Transport Partnerships, positively contributes to the reduction in social exclusion for our rural dwellers." ENDS


  1. The Rural Transport fund (RTF) has a prime objective to reduce social exclusion by improving/providing transport opportunities for people with reduced mobility in rural areas.
  2. In 2007 the 17 Rural Community Transport Partnerships provided in excess of 500,000 passenger trips across the north.
  3. The new fleet of minibuses replaces the existing fleet which are over 8 years old and had reached the end of their useful life-span.
  4. The full list of recipients of the minibuses is as follows:-

Accessible Community Travel Services (ACTS) - based in Newcastle (1x minibus)
Armagh Rural Transport (ART) - based in Armagh (1 x minibus)
Causeway Area Rural Transport (CART) - based in Coleraine (2 x minibuses)
Cookstown Rural Community Transport (CRCT) - based in Cookstown (1 x minibus)
Down Armagh Rural Transport (DART) - based in Lurgan (2 x minbuses)
Down Community Transport (DCT) - based in Downpatrick (2 x minibuses)
Dungannon & District Community Transport (DDCT) -based in Dungannon (1 x minibus)
Easilift - based in Strabane (3 x minibuses)
Fermanagh & South Tyrone Rural Transport (FAST) - based in Irvinestown (3 x minibuses)
Lagan Valley Rural Transport (LVRT) - based in Lisburn (2 x minibuses)
Newry & Mourne Community Transport (NMCT) -based in Newry (2 x minibuses)
North Antrim Community Transport (NACT) -based in Ballycastle (2 x minibuses)
Out & About Community Transport -based in Magherafelt (1 x minibus)
Peninsula Community Transport (PACT) -based in Kircubbin ( 2 x minbuses)
Roe Valley Community Transport (RVCT) -based in Limavady (2 x minibuses)
Rural Lift for SW Fermanagh - based in Enniskillen (2 x minibuses


Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew, MP, MLA, has announced the establishment of an Agricultural Stakeholder Forum on Renewable Energy.

The forum is tasked with reviewing and updating the Renewable Energy Action Plan published by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) in January 2007. The Action Plan focused on realising the opportunities that renewable energy has to offer the agricultural sector. At its first meeting, the forum considered its terms of reference and the work programme required to enable it to produce a final report and recommendations by June 2009.

Discussing the forum's work, the Minister commented:

"This new group brings together key figures with interests in the local renewable energy sector. I appreciate their willingness to pool their expertise to review the existing DARD action plan and prepare a new short to medium term strategy specific to the agricultural sector.

"The adoption of renewable energy technologies within the agricultural sector is clearly an area which requires further development and this forum will help us establish key objectives, targets and timeframes. The forum's report will focus on key opportunities, supply chain issues, innovation and technology transfer, market development, sustainability, capability development and potential delivery agents. I wish the forum every success and look forward to its' final report." ENDS

The forum is chaired by Pearse Buckley of Sustainable Energy Ireland and is made up of six senior industry representatives and three observers representing DARD, DETI and DOE.

Note to Editors

1. The Industry Representatives are:

• Michael Doran, Rural Generation
• Lord James Hamilton, Confederation of Forestry Industries
• Colin Smyth, Ulster Farmers' Union
• Dr Andy McCrea, Action Renewables
• Dr Sinclair Mayne, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
• Sean Bryne, Frontier Energy

2. The DARD Renewable Energy Action Plan is available at

3. Pearse Buckley graduated from University College Dublin in 1975 with a BE Mechanical degree. After working for 13 years in Canada as a product engineer, he returned to Ireland in 1991 and began research in energy from biomass at Trinity College Dublin. From 1998, he worked for four years with a waste management company before joining Sustainable Energy Ireland in August 2002 as Project Manager - Biomass. In this role he is responsible for the promotion of bioenergy through strategy development and for providing policy advice.

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