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Gildernew meets NIPSA to discuss DARD Direct consultation

9 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has met with representatives of NIPSA to discuss the DARD Direct Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA).

Speaking following the meeting, the minister said:

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the organisations and individuals who engaged with us on the public consultation. I recognise that NIPSA are key stakeholders in this process and have sought to reassure them that their views and concerns, along with those obtained from others, will help to provide a comprehensive picture across our stakeholder base.

"DARD is committed to providing a more efficient and joined up service for its customers through a network of DARD Direct Offices across the North. Customers will benefit from being able to access farmer focused services at a single location, by phone or via the DARD website.

"We want to accurately anticipate the consequences of these proposals on stakeholders, customers and staff and will be considering their feedback to ensure the effective implementation of DARD Direct, while addressing issues raised in the consultation and promote opportunities for equality." ENDS

Note to Editors

The DARD Direct (EQIA) consultation period commenced on 2 July 2008 and closed on Friday 5 September 2008.

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