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Welcome progress at all-Ireland Ministerial Agri-meeting

30 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty welcomed the progress made at the meeting between Agriculture Ministers Michelle Gildernew and Mary Coughlan in Enniskillen today.

Mr Doherty said:

"I particularly welcome the progress towards an all-Ireland animal health strategy that would allow the free movement of animals on the island of Ireland and the setting up of an all-Ireland consultative Forum on Animal Health which will forward a work programme in March.

"I also welcome the development of joint approaches to the welfare of animals in transport.

The progress on establishing joint working of the Rural Development Plans, with £16 million of both programmes being ring fenced for cross border work is also very positive and I welcome the fact that both ministers are developing proposals for a Rural Enabler Project for submission to Peace III for a strategic cross border project under Interreg 4a.

"The all-Ireland approach to keeping Ireland disease free has already produced significant benefits and the further discussions between Michelle Gildernew and Mary Coughlan on their strategy to keep to Bluetongue out of Ireland will hopefully yield similar results.

"Across Ireland farmers are voicing serious concerns about Peter Mandelson's WTO proposals and I welcome confirmation that this issue has been discussed and that Michelle Gildernew has now written to the British government expressing her concerns." ENDS

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