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MEP backs rural businesses at National Ploughing Championships

26 September, 2008

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún speaking after attending the National Ploughing Championships in County Kilkenny has said that farmers and rural businesses from the North are at the heart of building sustainable rural communities.

During the three-day celebration of rural Ireland, Bairbre de Brún MEP visited the stands of Northern exhibitors to check how business was going, attended the DARD reception hosted by Minister Michelle Gildernew, and met with farming organisations IFA, ICMSA and ICSA as well as speaking to thousands of visitors and other exhibitors.

Some 208,000 people attended this week's National Ploughing Championships in Cuffesgrange, Co Kilkenny. That figure makes it the best attended three-day event in the 77-year history of the championships. The event will be held next year near Athy in Co Kildare, where the first championships were staged in 1931.

The exhibitors the Six County MEP visited included:

McAuley Trailers, Toomebridge, Co Antrim
Chieftain Trailers Dungannon, Co Tyrone
Nugent Engineering Galbally, Co Tyrone
McGurk Engineering Dungannon Co Tyrone
PGS Pre Cast Concrete Anti Foul Cattle Drinkers, Co Tyrone
Dea Gate Automation Cookestown, Co Tyrone
A1 Power Systems Dungannon, Co Tyrone Millwood Craft Ltd, Benburb, Co Tyrone
Spite Cottages, Moy Road Dungannon, Co Tyrone
Country Cottages, Newry, Co Down
Jem Oils Limited Castlewellan, Co Down
Mount Mills Cold Pressed Flax Oil, Glen Rd, Newry, Co Down

Speaking after the event Ms de Brún said:

"Record numbers of people from across Ireland attended this year's National Ploughing Championships in County Kilkenny. This is a testament to the resilience, determination and hope for the future that exists right across rural Ireland.

"In the North we have an opportunity to rise to the many challenges facing our rural communities and our farmers. Our relationship with Europe is essential to that future. We are developing a new relationship with Europe that gives our local industry a real say in decision making at EU level.

"After meeting many of the rural organisation and the many exhibitors from the North I believe that farmers, rural businesses and local communities must be at the heart of building sustainable rural communities.

"Sinn Féin are determined that our rural communities will have a vibrant future. This is why we refuse to settle for second best when it comes to rural planning and why I also believe that in the concept of the Rural Champion being developed by the Agriculture Minster Michelle Gildernew and the Rural Network and Rural Development Programme we have tools to support rural communities that will sustain jobs and economic development and sustain our rural communities and families.

"I would call on Invest Northern Ireland to match this vision and to provide help for rural businesses not only once they have become successful under their own steam but when they need backing most to break into new and emerging markets such as those in Russia and Eastern Europe or to extend into markets across Ireland." ENDS

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