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Gildernew calls for rethink on CAP underspend

28 October, 2008

Sinn Fein Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew MP, MLA has called on Defra to back moves to use unspent Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) funds in support of the beef and sheep sectors.

The Minister made the call in a letter to the Defra Minister, Hilary Benn MP. The issue of how to use unspent CAP funds has been raised at the last two EU Agriculture Councils. Proposals for the use of unspent CAP funds have included an increase in funding to 'new Member States' as well as for the promotion of EU produce in third countries. There have been calls emanating from the European Parliament that unspent monies should be directed towards the sheep sector.

Outlining her position on the CAP underspend, Minister Gildernew said:

"I am very aware of the problems in our beef sector, which are well documented in the Red Meat Task Force Report. Income prospects for the sheep sector are also poor and this is well illustrated by the substantial decline in production levels both locally and across the EU.

"I believe that in the current market conditions there is a very strong case for directing unspent CAP funds towards providing support for these sectors. We need to try and help the red meat industry wherever possible through these difficult times." ENDS

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