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Ferris accuses Government of dishonesty on Nitrates Directive

25 May, 2004

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has accused the Government of acting dishonestly with regard to the application of the Nitrates Directive. While the Government has reacted recently to pressure from farmers on the issue by stating that it is prepared to reassess the Nitrates Action Programme published in draft form last December, a leaked copy of a May 11th document would appear to indicate that there will be no changes.

Deputy Ferris said:

"The Nitrates Directive has been around since 1991 yet successive Governments have failed to tackle the issue. There is evidence to suggest that it is being applied to this country in a manner that fails to take account of recent studies on water safety, and on the effects it will have on farmers themselves. And yet this Government and its predecessors have been content to put it on the long finger until faced with serious consequences on foot of EU financial penalties for non-compliance. It must act now and seek a re-evaluation of all the relevant scientific evidence and demand that the Directive is applied here in a manner that will not penalise farmers for the incompetence of central Government." ENDS

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