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Sinn Fein challenge North West allocation under EU Fund for Rural Development

15 May, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA's representing the North West Pat Doherty MP, Martina Anderson, Francie Brolly and has expressed deep concern as to the method of calculation of criteria used by the Department of Agriculture to calculate the distribution of the EU Fund for Rural Development.

Pat Doherty said:

"Under the table supplied by the Department of Agriculture Cluster 5 which includes North Down and the Ards Peninsula has been allocated twice the amount of EU Development money as Cluster 2 which includes Derry, Limavady, Strabane and Omagh.

"The Department of Agriculture has stated that they used employment, income and access to services as calculating the deprivation figure yet under every indices of deprivation published the North West Region has the unenvious position of topping the tables while the North Down area is recognised as the most prosperous yet when it comes to the allocation of EU Funds for Rural Development the North West is registered as having half the deprivation as Cluster 2.

"The rural community needs to be protected and given the proper assistance to thrive but this will only happen if development monies are distributed on the basis of need and it is clear that given the figures announced by the Department this is not the case.

"It is unacceptable that these figures do not reflect the reality of rural deprivation in the North West and that the wealthiest area of the North has the second largest allocation in terms of EU funding.

"Sinn Féin will not tolerate the bias against areas West of the Bann and will be asking the Minister to instruct her officials to provide clarification as to how these figures were calculated." ENDS

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