Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Agenda for Agriculture and Rural Development must be built on breaking link to UK policy

12 May, 2005

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has challenged new British direct rule Minster Jeff Rooker to recognise the damage done to the farming and rural communities in the north of Ireland by being tied to a UK policy framework.

Speaking from the Balmoral Show Ms Gildernew said:

"The reality is that being tied to UK agriculture policy has damaged the industry here.

"We need to see progress on the lifting of the beef ban, separate from the UK because their case is far weaker than our own.

"We also need to prioritise progress of the all-Ireland animal health and food safety programme of work that has politically hit a brick wall and we also need to do more to challenge the implementation of the nitrates directive.

"The top of Jeff Rooker's list must be the rural economy.

"We also need to ensure that farmers have the freedom to farm that was supposed to be at the heart of Cap reform.

"We need to cut through the culture of red tape that exists within DARD and we need challenge the institutional resistance to an all-Ireland framework, particularly in the thinking of the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership that needs to go back to the drawing board on the development of a single clean green brand for Irish produce." ENDS

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