Sinn Féin to have major presence at Ploughing Championships 2007
Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on rural development Martin Ferris will head up the party's major presence at this year Ploughing Championships.
Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew will accompany Deputy Ferris and on Wednesday they will be joined by Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Senator Pearse Doherty, MEP Bairbre de Brún and local Councillors for the launch of the party's major document on rural regeneration.
Speaking ahead of the Ploughing Championships Deputy Ferris said:
"The needs of rural communities are an absolute priority for Sinn Féin. This has been evidenced by the party's decision to take up the agriculture portfolio in the Northern Executive.
"To compliment the work of the Assembly Sinn Féin's Oireachtas portfolios have been reallocated with a renewed focus on rural and regional development in both the Seanad and the Dáil.
"The largest decrease in farms over the last fifteen years has been recorded in the border region where there has been a fall of 8,300, and also the west of the country where there are now 7,700 fewer farms.
"Sinn Féin has consistently highlighted the economic partition between the east and west of the country and also the border counties.
"Rural communities do not deserve the second class treatment they get. They deserve equality with their urban counterparts. Those in power continue to pay lip service to the need for regional development and decentralisation. But the reality remains that our rural communities continue to experience economic and demographic decline.
"We need a new deal for rural Ireland. We need to support the agriculture economies of our rural communities, and ensure these remain an integral part of a balanced and sustainable future. Integrated regional development with a commitment to infrastructure and economic investment must be delivered.
"Our major document on rural development which will be launched on Wednesday will detail the party's proposals for an all encompassing strategic all-Ireland approach to rural development.
"The task facing us now is to listen, strategise, cooperate and harness the necessary political will to empower rural communities to achieve their maximum potential. Working with our Ministers in the Assembly what has been to date an aspiration for rural communities can in time become a reality." CRíOCH
Note to Editor:
Sinn Féin can be found at Stand number 210 Row G
Assembly Department of Agriculture can be found at Stand 251 Row H