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Sinn Fein delegation to meet Irish Cattle & Sheep Association

6 September, 2004

Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew will led a party delegaation to meet the ICSA President Malcom Thompson and their General Secretary Eddie Punch, on Monday 6th September, at 2pm In Stormont.

One of the main focus points for discussion will be the issue of GM. The ICSA recently announced a campaign for Ireland to remain GM Free. Sinn Féin last year launched a similar campaign, so we warmly welcome this announcement by the ICSA. The ICSA has been at the forefront of agri-politics lobbying on behalf of its members over a range of issues, such as CAP reforms, and they were the first farm organisation in Ireland to lobby both in Brussels and at home for the full decoupling of farm payments.

Speaking ahead of the meeting Ms Gildernew said:

"Sinn Féin is concerned at the lack of political will from all other main political parties about the issue of GM.

"Last year we wrote to all of the political parties seeking cross party support against GM. The response was very mixed. The DUP said they 'would not be associating with anything Sinn Féin is involved in [and] there is a need for more research' while the SDLP's PJ Bradley said that the 'jury is out on this at the moment, I think Sinn Féin have jumped far too quickly on this [as] they have done so in the past on other things'.

"Sinn Féin will continue to meet all groups interested the long-term future of Irish Farming and consumers. Consumers across Europe have overwhelmingly reject GM, farmers are only too well aware of the risks in becoming involved in a technology which is not proven. The BSE crisis still casts a dark cloud over Irish Farming.

"It is the farmers who have paid for the mistakes of scientists and decisions driven by big business interests, with closed markets and diminished returns. It would be the farmers who would suffer from any consumer backlash against GM if there was even the slightest hint of a contamination. Ireland must maintain it natural image on the world stage, it is as an island nation that we should be able to promote our produce as clean and green and free from GM contamination." ENDS

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