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Ferris: Failure To Budget For Rural Futures

3 December, 2003


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development, Martin Ferris TD, has criticised the failure of the Budget to adequately provide for the future of rural communities at a time of radical change.

Deputy Ferris said:

"There are some positive aspects to the Budget. I welcome the commitment to further decentralise Government Departments and hope that this will be extended. Sinn Féin also welcomes the increase in the tax relief on leases and the lowering of the qualifying age to 40. More, however, needs to be done to encourage the entrance of trained younger farmers

"I also note that nothing has been done to reverse the cuts in the budget available to Teagasc, and that this will continue to have a detrimental effect on the levels of research and training available to farmers. In general I am disappointed that more has not been done to establish the kind of programmes that will be necessary to help farmers adapt to the changes brought about by the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy

"What is required is a new strategy that will allow farmers to take advantage of decoupling, and to prepare rural communities in general for the future. The Rural Social Scheme announced in the Budget and the funding made available for it, will be inadequate to fulfil that task. Besides, rural communities will suffer as much as everyone else from the consequences of the failure to protect public services." ENDS

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