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Sinn Féin welcome Farm Modernisation scheme.

17 February, 2009

Sinn Féin MP and MLA Pat Doherty has welcomed the opening of the Farm Modernisation scheme by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle Gildernew. The aim of the scheme is to help boost the agricultural sector and as a result the rural economy in times of economic downturn.

Speaking today Mr Doherty said:

"The Department scheme is devised to generate investment into our rural communities and should be seen as this and is to be welcomed. For every £5,000 granted the farmer will have to spend £12,000 pound on a given list of items which will help the framing, engineering and rural economies at a time when many of these sectors are experiencing economic difficulties.

"As we have seen there has been an unprecedented demand for this scheme and that is a good thing with the Minister already committing herself to accessing more money to cope with this demand. We have to remind ourselves however that this is the first traunch and there will be another two trauches to be delivered and will be done so following a review of how the first one was delivered.

"However there have been concerns raised by a member of the European Commission into today's delivery and I am sure the Department and the Minister will work closely with European colleagues to remedy these concerns.

"This is only good practice given the need to review initial demand and delivery of the scheme. I welcome the fact that the Minister has brought this forward as one of several scheme that she has put in front of the Executive to help boost the agricultural sector and as a result the rural economy."

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