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Farm Minister visits West Tyrone

2 November, 2007

Sinn Féin Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, today visited TMC Dairies, Town of Monaghan's milk powder plant in Artigarvan outside Strabane.

She was met by Town of Monaghan Chief Executive, Vincent Gilhawley, who introduced the Minister to the Co-operative's NI Council members and staff, before taking her on a tour of the factory.

During the visit the Minister said:

"The dairy industry is very important to the local economy. With a strong export focus, our milk powder plants are essential to provide decent returns for local milk. Town of Monaghan maintains a strong commitment to milk producers across the border counties and have built up a good reputation for quality products and reliable customer service."

"Although there will be many challenges facing the agriculture industry in years to come, it is my hope that the dairy sector is an industry which can look forward to a better future for both our farmers and processors. From working together as I have seen today, the future of the industry will be brighter."

Following her visit to the TMC Artigarvan plant, the Minister also met with Isaac Crilly, Regional Chairman of the National Sheep Association at his Castlederg farm. During her visit she also met with officers from the National Sheep Association.

Speaking at the end of her visit, the Minister added:

"Sheep farming is central to the local agricultural industry and today's visit has provided me with a great opportunity to hear more about sheep production in West Tyrone. Isaac's farm is an excellent example of how a sound business plan can offer great opportunities for the future.

"I would like to remind the whole industry to remain vigilant for signs of Bluetongue disease which we must keep out of our livestock industry." ENDS


  1. TMC Dairies (NI) Ltd is a fully owned subsidiary of Town of Monaghan Co-operative Agricultural Society Ltd. Town of Monaghan is a cross border based farmers' co-operative based in Coolshannagh, Co Monaghan.
  2. Isaac Crilly is the Chairman of the National Sheep Association and his business is based solely on sheep production.

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