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de Brún MEP to take part in South Armagh Farmers’ Forum

25 November, 2008 - by Martina Anderson MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will take part in a Farmers' Forum meeting in South Armagh tonight, Tuesday 25th November, at 7pm in the Ti Chullain Centre, in Mullach Bán. The Farmers Forum meeting is being organised by South Armagh Sinn Féin.

Speaking in advance of tonight's meeting Ms de Brún said:

"This Farmers' Forum meeting comes on the back of last week's major negotiations in Brussels which resulted in a CAP Health Check deal. Europe is central to the future of our local agriculture, fisheries, and agri-food industries and I have always tried to ensure that the issues that really impact on agriculture are raised at the highest level in Europe.

"Our local farming minister, Michelle Gildernew, is playing a positive role in developing a new relationship with Europe to the benefit of our local agriculture and related industries - a new relationship that will ensure many new opportunities.

"For too long, our local farmers have been short changed when it comes to Europe, particularly in comparison to their colleagues in the south because in the past we have been locked into the approach of the British government. Thankfully now there is a stronger voice for our farm families at the heart of the decision making process in Europe. Developing this voice even further will be of enormous benefit to our local industry.

"Key issues raised by Sinn Fein in Europe include the Rural Development Programme, the CAP Healthcheck, World Trade Organisation (WTO) proposals and the related issue of Brazilian Beef, the Farm Nutrient Management Scheme and the need for all-Ireland measures to be put in place regarding animal disease control to avert the increasing threat from foot and mouth disease (FMD), avian influenza and bluetongue.

"Just recently as part of a delegation of Irish MEPs which included Marian Harkin, Mairead McGuinness and Liam Aylward, I met senior officials from EU Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel's cabinet in Brussels to discuss the Farm Waste Management Scheme and the need for flexibility. At the same meeting we also raised the need for greater support for dairy farmers given the disastrous drop in farmgate milk price.

"My role at the South Armagh Farmers' Forum tonight is to listen to the real concerns facing the agriculture industry and farm families at this time, so I can better represent their concerns in the appropriate institutions and with the appropriate officials. I look forward to engaging in tonight' forum and I am very pleased to be part of a panel which includes people who are working very hard at a regional and local level to ensure a future for our agriculture industry, farm families and rural communities." ENDS

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