Farming and fishing must play key role in future of rural Ireland – Ferris
Speaking in Castlebar today the Sinn Féin Dáil spokesperson on rural affairs Martin Ferris TD said that farming and fishing must play a key role in the future of rural Ireland.
As part of the party’s Love Rural Ireland campaign Deputy Ferris will soon take off on a consultation process around the country to develop a comprehensive plan for the future of rural Ireland.
Deputy Ferris said:
“This campaign aims to highlight the impact of the current austerity programme on rural Ireland but also to plan for its future.
“We are also about promoting our vision for rural Ireland and will be focusing our engagement with the different representatives and sectoral groups and with communities themselves on how to best utilise the resources that exist within rural Ireland.
“The farming and fishing sectors are crucial to future growth.
“In relation to farming, while incomes are holding up quite well at the moment there are still major structural issues that require addressing if the sector is to continue to develop and to support a large number of family farms. The trend has been towards a steady contraction of numbers involved and the current Single Farm Payment has not halted that despite its potential positive aspects in regard to facilitating farmers in moving into new areas of production.
“Fishing is in a much more perilous state. The Common Fisheries Policy has proven to be a disaster and requires from our perspective a complete and radical overhaul in order to address the issue of increased quota for Irish fishermen and the protection of stocks. Both of those can be compatible if we regain sovereignty over our waters rather than having to adhere to a deeply flawed ‘management’ from Brussels.
“There are also new areas of potential economic growth such as renewable energy. Sinn Féin in both parts of the island has been looking at these and we believe that there is massive potential in wind and wave energy.
“On the model of what is happening in Scotland we believe we could not only become entirely dependent on wind generated electricity by 2010 but could actually become a net exporter of surplus capacity. Wave power from the sea off our coast also has great potential with even greater financial implications in terms of export were that to be properly developed.
“There are many other aspects of Sinn Féin’s vision for economic resurgence and growth in rural Ireland and we look forward to a meaningful engagement as we further develop all of that.”