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Minister announces Equality exercise on Government plans

5 December, 2007


Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, is encouraging rural dwellers to have their say in the government's plans for spending, investing and delivering Programme for Government.

Announcing the consultation which will run until 16 January, the Minister said:
"I am keen to ensure that equality is at the core of the department's business. These budget increases can help to make a real difference for rural communities which continue to face serious challenges. While seeking responses from all interested groups and individuals I would particularly call on rural groups to come forward and make their views heard.

"I am also especially interested in section 75 groups, including people who are living with disabilities, women; and under represented groups such as ethnic minority groups and people with a different sexual orientation."

Between 5th December 2007 and 16th January 2008, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) will be conducting an intensive six-week long consultation process to assess the equality impact of the draft Programme for Government, draft Investment Strategy and draft Budget, in so far as these documents individually and collectively relate to the Department's functions.

Under the Executive's draft budget proposals the Department's budget would increase by 2.5% a year. The programme for Government also targets support for rural businesses and infrastructure.

The Department plans to hold public consultation meetings in the coming weeks and written responses will also be invited from the general public and key stakeholders including Section 75 representatives. Full details of locations and venues will be placed in the Press.

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