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Remain vote needs to be respected - McAleer

19 September, 2016 - by Declan McAleer

Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer said to ensure future prosperity for the North that the Remain vote needs to be respected.

The West Tyrone MLA said:

“Fifty six percent of the people in the north voted to remain as part of the European Union, this vote needs to be respected.

“The north’s membership of the EU has a wide and significant impact on our lives.

“Over the past ten years the EU has invested up to £100 million in infrastructure with £58 million going to TEN-T projects for the likes of the A8 and the development of the transport hub in Belfast.

“In terms of rural development, it is important to point out that the single farm payment makes up 87 percent of farmers' income in the north.

“The single farm payment is just under a quarter of £1 billion per year. A pot was negotiated during the recent Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform in the region of £2 billion, right up to 2020. It begs the question: if the exit happens, where does that come from? 

“The £623 million rural development programme was signed off in August 2015, which opened up exciting opportunities for rural areas.

“There is a £250 million farm business improvement scheme, £65 million for the Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme, £10 million for rural tourism and £70 million for LEADER, which is funding for rural projects, small businesses in local areas, community projects and crèches.

“My recent correspondence from the Agriculture Minister gave no guarantees beyond 2018 for that funding, even though the budget has been agreed until 2020, which is the term of the CAP.

“It should be noted that during the CAP negotiations the Tories negotiated a 22 percent cut in funding and we had to bridge the shortfall, proving they cannot be trusted.

“The best chance that we have for future prosperity for the North, and this island, is for everyone to respect the remain vote.”

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