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Doherty outlines All Ireland vision for agricultural sector

4 June, 2004

Sinn Féin North West EU candidate Pearse Doherty has said that the problems facing the Irish agricultural industry 'must be addressed on an All Ireland basis.' Mr Doherty was speaking last night at an EU debate on agriculture, organised by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) at the Abbey Hotel, Roscommon.

Speaking last night, Mr Doherty said:

"Sinn Féin recognises the central role that the EU plays in Irish agriculture. While we have been critical of many aspects of this in the past, we have made positive proposals in regard to how this can be improved. For example, during the debate about the proposed reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, Sinn Féin was the only party to positively engage in the process when all of the others were claiming to be totally opposed to the Fischler proposals but made no effort to change those aspects of the reforms that might have been harmful to Irish farmers.

"Sinn Féin wants to see a new strategy that will allow farmers to take advantage of the potential benefits of having a secure income based on the Single Payment, but also to secure higher incomes for farmers through production for the higher value added market.

"I believe that there are many problems which currently face the farming industry. We are opposed to the closure and downgrading of Teagasc facilities including Ballinamore, and call for increased investment in research and training to allow farmers adapt to the CAP reform. We are completely opposed to the introduction of Genetically Modified crops as harmful both to the quality of Irish food, and to the income levels of farmers as has been proven in the United States and Canada.

"We support the demand that the implementation of the Nitrates Directive be suspended pending a complete re-examination of the scientific evidence, and of the potential economic damage it may cause. We also call for the mandatory labelling of all food products entering this country to show country of origin.

"The logic of a joined up, All Ireland approach to the problems facing the agricultural sector is clear to see. Sinn Féin will continue to promote cross border co-operation at European and national level."ENDS

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