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Sinn Féin welcomes proposed DARD Service improvements for Omagh and Strabane hinterlands

5 November, 2008

Sinn Féin representatives in West Tyrone believe that proposals from Agriculture Minister Michelle Gildernew for the roll out of DARD Direct services and re-location of DARD offices in Omagh will benefit farming and rural communities throughout the District as well as in its Strabane hinterlands.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Peter Kelly said,

"The Minister has stated that one of the key issues informing her proposals was the location and accessibility of offices. For years we have been flagging up the total unsuitability of the current location of the DARD office on the Gortin Road given the major problems of parking and access.

"It is now clear that the Minister has taken this issue on board and there will be a feeling that there is at last light at the end of the tunnel with the news that the new DARD Direct Services in Omagh are now to be re-located to the Mart Premises on the Drumquin Road. This location would be ideal in every respect."

Further commenting on the proposals West Tyrone Sinn Fein MP MLA and Assembly Agriculture Committee member Pat Doherty said,

"The re-location of the DARD Office in Omagh will be a long overdue and welcome step and Sinn Fein has lobbied for this to happen for a long time. I also believe that the setting up of the DARD Direct ensures a more integrated and strategic approach to service provision.

"This should ensure a much improved service all round for stakeholders in the farming and rural community. DARD Direct will ensure that there will now be a one-stop-shop facility in 12 locations throughout the six counties whereby a holistic range of DARD services can be accessed by farming and rural communities including Veterinary, Grants and Subsidies, Countryside Management, CAFRE Development Advisers, Rural Enterprise and Quality Assurance Services into single sites." ENDS

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