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Rural Proofing a legacy of SDLP Ministry – Doherty

23 November, 2009

Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Pat Doherty has challenged comments made by SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone on this morning’s Farmgate programme.

Speaking today Mr Doherty said;

“Patsy McGlone in an interview with BBC Farmgate this morning was very critical of the current rural proofing policy. This policy was brought in by Bríd Rodgers in the last Assembly to try and ensure that all Government departments proofed their policies against rural needs.

It is widely acknowledged that the policy has never worked effectively.

Michelle Gildernew made addressing this issue one of her first ministerial priorities when taking up office. She immediately initiated a three pronged approach to addressing the inequalities felt by rural areas.

Firstly she has initiated an enhanced rural proofing process which is close to completion, secondly she has developed a Rural Champion concept which will help advocate for rural issues inside and outside of Government and finally and most importantly she is developing a Rural White Paper, the aim of which is to formerly ensure that all Government Departments deliver adequately for rural areas and begin addressing the lack of essential services and amenities in rural areas.” CRÍOCH

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