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Ferris Demands Protection of CAP

8 April, 2008

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has called on Minister Mary Coughlan to ensure that the reformed Common Agricultural Policy is protected from the changes being proposed as part of the World Trade Organisation negotiations. The Kerry North TD was responding to a Dáil reply from the Minister this afternoon. Deputy Ferris had questioned the Minister regarding her attitude to the current review of the 2003 CAP reform being conducted by the EU Commission.

Deputy Ferris said: "During the debate on the 2003 CAP reform farmers were told that by accepting the proposals on decoupling that the EU would then be in a position to safeguard the position of European farmers from any attacks made through the WTO with regard to subsidies because support payments were no longer directly tied to production.

"Indeed when I and other Sinn Féin representatives met with EU officials they assured us that the reform would protect farm incomes and family farming. It was on that basis that I and many others welcomed the reform. Would the Minister agree that that trust has now been abused by Commissioner Mandelson with his willingness to go along with the demands of others at the WTO for further cuts in EU supports?

"Would she further undertake that her Government will oppose the Mandelson proposals and ensure that the 'Health Check' of CAP protects the current position of EU farmers and that any change to market supports will not comply with the demands of those countries seeking to undermine the entire basis of the CAP and of the European model of farming which the Commission claims to be the centre of its policy.

"Would she finally agree that the further diminution of national sovereignty and representation embodied in the proposed Lisbon Treaty will make any such defence of Irish interests more difficult if it is accepted." ENDS

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