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Fishing fuel price concerns vindicate Sinn Fein call for Assembly taxation powers

11 March, 2008

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Fisheries, South Down MLA Willie Clarke commenting on the concerns of local fishermen and women about fuel prices has said that it vindicates Sinn Féin's call for tax varying powers for the Assembly and Executive that was rejected by unionists.

Mr Clarke said:

"I appreciate that the Fisheries Minister Michelle Gildernew is looking at a number of possible initiatives to further support our local fishing industry, however I believe that the only way to deal with the issue of fuel prices head on is if we had a greater degree of fiscal independence.

"Sadly unionists are so far unable to rise to the challenge of having responsibility for tax varying powers. But if we had proper fiscal independence then we could be in a position to really do something about fuel prices.

"Of course the position of the EU will always have a major influence on the future of our fishing industry. I know that many of our local fishermen and women will look at the settlement achieved in the last fishing negotiations in the south with envy. While Michelle Gildernew has achieved some real success within the constraints of the DEFRA approach to those last EU negotiations I look forward to the further development of an approach that benefits our local industry regardless of the approach adopted in London." ENDS

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