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Sinn Féin will put rural development at top of political agenda

27 May, 2004


Sinn Féin EU candidate for the North West Pearse Doherty, who is in Killybegs today meeting with local fishermen said "Years of government failure and inaction will not be forgotten by people the length and breadth of Ireland. Time after time the government have ignored our needs, closed down essential public services and failed to develop the regions. Sinn Féin has a different way forward and rural development is a priority for our party."

While in Donegal this morning Mr. Doherty set out the party‚s document "Campaigning for farming and fishing communities and rural Ireland" and also announced details of a Private Members motion on Rural Development which the party's TDs will be raising in Leinster House next week.

Rural development

"The current Government have completely failed to fulfil the commitments which they made in their White Paper on Rural Development. They have failed: to maintain vibrant sustainable rural communities, to ensure sufficient employment and income opportunities; to improve access to education and training; to provide adequate housing and to address the problem of planning permission; to promote All Ireland integration and co-operation; to maintain public services; to provide adequate healthcare provision.

Sinn Féin is campaigning for an entirely new all-island approach that will guarantee an equal level of provision of public services for all citizens and will ensure that there is real decentralisation of both the public and private sectors and that local and regional authorities along with community representatives are given a greater say in how local programmes are administered.

"Our TDs are ensuring that rural development is at the top of the political agenda and that it stays there. Next week they will be introducing a Private Members Motion on Rural Development and I am calling on all those who are genuinely committed to standing up for rural communities to support this motion."

Fisheries

"The shameful treatment of the Irish fishing industry under the EU Common Fisheries Policy is a terrible indictment of successive governments. EU fleets have taken 120billion EURO in fish out of Irish waters since 1973 ˆ this plundering of our seas is more than all of the direct payments and structural funds that this entire island has received. We don‚t deny the right of fishermen from other countries to fish off our coast but Irish fishermen must have a larger share of the quota.

Our priorities for fisheriers include:

  • The radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy including a complete renegotiation of the terms governing Irish fisheries
  • An end to all threats to the Irish Box conservation area
  • Statutory representation of fishing organisations in the management of stocks
  • Lifting of all EU restrictions on night landings
  • A programme to sustain coastal communities

Revitalising Irish Agriculture

Sinn Féin is committed to revitalising Irish agriculture and rural communities on an all-island basis. While we are convinced that this will require greater local democratic control over the policies and programmes that will ensure this, we also recognise the central role that the EU currently plays. We see that future being built on the basis of high quality food production and an expanded domestic processing sector, with a return to genuine producer co-operatives playing an enhanced role. We are also adamant that to preserve the reputation of Irish food, the entire island must remain free from Genetically Modified (GM) crops.

Sinn Féin MEPs will work for:

  • stronger all-Ireland participation in EU agricultural policy formulation, after full input from stakeholders
  • establishment of a full range of complementary rural development programmes to aid farmers and rural communities in adapting to changes brought about by CAP
  • adequate provision for farmers who took part in the Early Retirement Scheme
  • reassessment of the application of the Nitrates Directive in the light of evidence that nitrate levels in Ireland are currently within the 50 mg limit for water supply and groundwater
  • the channelling of all modulated funds from CAP payments towards an expanded programme of rural development
  • the designation of the entire island of Ireland as a GM-free zone

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