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Gildernew keeps local issues in focus at London meetings

6 February, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA has met with several of her devolved counterparts during a day-long series of engagements in London.

The Minister's first meeting related to agricultural matters and was chaired by the Hilary Benn MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The Minister's Executive colleague Environment Minister Arlene Foster MLA and ministerial counterparts from Scotland and Wales were also in attendance.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister Gildernew said:

"This has been an informative meeting continuing the process of engagement, which began last June with England, Scotland and Wales. It has provided a useful opportunity for all my ministerial counterparts and myself to focus on the challenges facing us all and discuss any support that we can provide for each other."

A ministerial meeting on fisheries matters followed, during which the minister met with her English, Scots and Welsh Fisheries counterparts. After the meeting, the minister said:

"This meeting marks the start of a busy year which will affect fishing opportunities for 2009 and beyond. The outcome of the cod recovery plan review, the launch of the European Fisheries Fund and the start of preparations for the review of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2012 are all important issues to be tackled in the year ahead.

"I will also be meeting with my southern colleague Minister Coughlan over the coming months to discuss how we too can make the most of ongoing co-operation on fisheries matters."

The Minister's final meeting was with Ian Livsey, recently appointed Chief Executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to discuss the work of the Authority here.

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