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de Brún attends the announcement of model for de-coupling

9 February, 2004

Sinn Féin's spokespersons Bairbre de Brún MLA and Cllr Gerry McHugh, today attended a meeting of the Rural Stakeholder Forum at the Stormont Hotel to hear from Minister Ian Pearson the model chosen for de-coupling. DARD held a consultation on the mechanisms for implementation with a deadline of Friday January 16th.

Speaking after the meeting Ms de Brún said:

"We welcome the fact that the Minister has made a quick decision. This will now end the uncertainty and allow farmers and their families to plan for the future.

"We further welcome the decision the Minister has taken. Having held a number of meetings with farmers and their representatives and having consulted within the party we backed a vertical hybrid model of de-coupling in our response toDARD. This model will deliver the fairest and most equitable model to the farming industry. Our response asked for the following:

  • The full de-coupling of all farm payments within all of the sectors
  • That the timing of de-coupling in the dairy sector should be 2005
  • That a vertical hybrid model of de-coupling be introduced
  • That there should not be an introduction of a National Envelope within any sector

The issue of CAP reform is of vital importance to farmers, rural communities and society as a whole. This outcome of the consultation will have a major impact on the future of our farming industry and the communities who rely on farming for their livelihood. It will in effect determine whether many farms continue to exist. As Ireland has a large number of small and family based farms this question is particularly important. It is undoubtedly one of the most important issues facing Irish society today.

At the centre of the consultation was the issue of de-coupling subsidies from production levels. Sinn Féin held a series of meetings with farmers to get a view of the model of de-coupling which in their view would best suit the industry here. It is our view that full de-coupling is the best option for Irish agriculture and in the best interest of the industry.

We also welcome the Minister‚s decision to set up a helpline, as there is still much uncertainty in the industry about the time ahead. We would urge the Minister to proceed now to an early consultation on cross compliance and modulation. We welcome the Minister's assurance in answer to our question at this morning's meeting that he wants cross-compliance to be sensible and to have as little bureaucracy attached to it as possible.

In conclusion Ms de Brún said

Irish farming has a strong and responsive lobby arguing for its interests within the European Union. Sinn Féin is committed to listening to the farming community and placing their concerns at the heart of our efforts to ensure a fair and equitable implementation of the CAP reform. Today's meeting has been both informative and constructive and will play a role in ensuring that our party fully understands the right way forward for Irish farmers. Sinn Féin will continue to be at the heart of any debate around this issue."ENDS

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