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Sinn Féin Welcomes Launch of Enterprising Rural Women Programme

30 March, 2004

Sinn Féin spokesperson on European affairs, Bairbre de Brún, has welcomed the Enterprising Rural Women Programme as an 'innovative initiative which can provide much needed support to rural women.' The programme was launched on Thursday 25 March and is funded by the EU's Building Sustainable Prosperity and by Invest Northern Ireland.

Ms de Brún said:

"This welcome initiative is a partnership between the Rural Development Council, Down Business Centre and TL associates. It aims to provide rural women with support and assistance in developing new business ideas and diversifying farm activities.

"Increasingly family farms are finding it difficult to make ends meet and urgently require assistance and support in developing new avenues for generating income. Given the difficulties facing farm communities we need to equip Irish agriculture for the challenges that lie ahead and take parallel steps to set in place effective development strategies for individual rural communities. We also need to support the role of women in rural development and enable them to access training and employment or learn what is needed to start their own business.

"The Enterprising Rural Women Programme is a good example of the steps needed to support both women in farm families and those living in the wider rural area. By building on the already existing pool of skills among rural women this initiative will help to provide new routes to employment.

"I wish all those involved in the programme success and hope that this will provide an example to others."ENDS

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