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Future viability of farming and fishing in the west under threat – Ferris

16 July, 2008 - by Martin Ferris TD


Speaking ahead of a meeting in Limerick this evening with rural groups and farming associations Sinn Féin Agriculture and Fisheries Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD said the viability of farming and fishing in the west of Ireland is under threat.

Deputy Ferris, who is currently working on an official report for the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture on the future viability of farming and fishing in the west of Ireland, will be engaging in meetings in counties along the west coast over the next two weeks in order to inform his report.

Speaking ahead of the first of those meetings in Limerick this evening Deputy Ferris said, "Proposals at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to undermine the European Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) would have severe implications for Irish Farming if implemented.

"The implications of these proposals will be felt most harshly in the west of Ireland were farms tend to be much smaller and there is a bigger chance of them going out of business.

"The European Common Fisheries Policy and the quota restrictions contained in it are seriously undermining Irish Fisheries and needs to be renegotiated as it applies to Ireland. The current fuel price increase is also seriously impeding our fishermen. Again, nowhere will this be more keenly felt than in the west of Ireland where the vast majority of our fishermen live and work.

"In a bid to retain the viability of the farming and fishing sectors in the west of Ireland I am preparing an official report for the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture and am currently travelling the west coast to meet with interested group and gather information and suggestions."

Also speaking ahead of the meeting Limerick Sinn Féin representative Maurice Quinlivan said, "It is obvious that the west is suffering a death by a thousand cuts. Traditional farming, fishing and manufacturing jobs are all at risk in the west where unemployment is at its highest.

"The closure and running down of public services such as health and education, the withdrawal of public transport and the closure of rural schools, shops and Garda stations have all contributed to the decline of the west of Ireland.

"In a serious bid to reverse the current trend Sinn Féin has embarked on a campaign to save the west. Our agriculture spokesperson Martin Ferris TD is preparing an official Oireachtas report on the future viability of farming and fishing in the west while our regional development spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty is preparing another official Oireachtas report on the rejuvenation of the West of Ireland in social and economic terms.

"As part of this campaign we will be meeting with a variety of groups along the west coast including representatives of the farming and fishing communities, local community development groups, enterprise boards, Chambers of Commerce, Trades Councils, women's groups and other relevant campaign groups from across the west." ENDS

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