Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Ferris - Make reforms work for Irish farmers

26 June, 2003

Sinn Féin spokespersons on Agriculture and Rural Development Martin Ferris TD and former Assembly Member Gerry McHugh have called on Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh and British Minister Pearson to ensure that the proposals agreed this morning by EU member states will be made work to the best benefit of Irish farmers.

Deputy Ferris and Mr McHugh said: "While we have still to analyse the full proposals and to consider what the implications will be, I welcome the fact that a decision has been reached. Sinn Féin also believes that the Irish Government should take the opportunity presented to implement full decoupling. We have set out our reasons why we believe that partial decoupling would only exacerbate the problems of bureaucracy while the full measure does, we feel, present an opportunity to allow for the future dynamic development of Irish farming. It can also create greater opportunities for the small and medium producers whose incomes and livelihoods have come under pressure over the past number of years.

"We also welcome the changes to the modulation proposal that will allow member states to retain control over the modulated funds. What also needs to be done is to ensure that those funds are match funded and made to bring about real benefits through the rural development measures that are proposed.

"We share the concerns expressed in regard to dairying. However, most of the problems in this sector are outside of the reform proposals. The recent Prospectus report indicated that prices will fall, quota levels will rise and many more farmers will leave dairying. In replies to questions I put to Minister Walsh he agreed with that analysis. So they are problems that will need to be dealt with separately from the reform of the CAP.

"Sinn Féin will be joining with others in attempting to persuade Minister Walsh to adapt the proposals to the best benefit of the majority of Irish farmers and we will be making detailed submissions on these over the next week". ENDS

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