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Action needed on Animal Health & CAP Reform: de Brún

1 April, 2004


Speaking today after a meeting with Minister Ian Pearson, Sinn Féin spokesperson on EU affairs Bairbre de Brún has welcomed moves towards integrating all-Ireland animal health policy.

Ms de Brún led a party delegation including agriculture spokesperson Cllr Gerry McHugh to meet with the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Ian Pearson. The meeting took place at Craigantlet Buildings at 3.15 this afternoon.

Speaking after the meeting Ms de Brún said:

"Today's meeting with Ian Pearson was arranged in order to discuss a number of important questions regarding animal health and the implementation of the CAP reforms.

"There is currently a high level of TB amongst livestock here, and we are concerned that animals are not being removed from farms within the specified time. This is an ongoing problem which Sinn Féin has highlighted on a number of occasions. We asked the Minister today for some detail of the action his department is taking on this issue. We were given some detail of their proposals for streamlining the testing, valuation and removal of reactors.

We pressed Minister Pearson on the need to complete the all Ireland animal health strategy promised at the all Ireland Ministerial Council some 18 months ago. The Minister assured us that he hopes to see work on this completed by the autumn.

In the course of a series of meetings Sinn Féin has had with farmers throughout the north, one question arose again and again, namely when will the beef export ban be lifted. The lifting of the ban will be central to allowing the free movement of animals within the island.

On the issues of CAP reform Sinn Féin wants to see immediate publication of the details proposed with regard to cross compliance and modulation. Farmers are very concerned about the possible impact of cross compliance and are anxious to have their say. Their concerns will have been heightened by some of the detailed proposals put out to consultation by Defra, and they will be anxious to see what DARD‚s approach to this issue will be. We welcome the assurance from the Minister that this will be published next week. We also raised once again the need for DARD to conduct public meetings with both farmers and farm organisations.

Finally DARD must publish their proposals for a new Rural Development programme as a matter of urgency. In particular the agreement which came out of the 'planting seeds for rural future' conference in Salzburg last autumn needs to be in the public arena for proper consideration by the farming industry." ENDS

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