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Re-negotiating CAP would be devastating for Irish farmers - Bairbre de Brún

17 June, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair "not to destroy the livelihoods of farmers in the 6 Counties".

Ms de Brún made her comments as European leaders meet in Brussels to discuss the EU budget.

Ms de Brún said:

"A drastic reduction of the CAP could lead to an expected 6 billion Euro shortfall for farmers throughout the European Union. Mr Blair's stance, in particular, will come as a slap in the face to local farmers. When the CAP reform was agreed, farmers were led to believe that the deal would remain in place until at least 2013 when it is due to be reviewed again.

"In the context of this week's EU budget negotiations and Britain's EU presidency starting at the end of the month, farmers here will feel very concerned indeed at any suggestion of re-negotiating CAP. The approach of the British government to CAP reform and the needs of Irish agriculture are poles apart. Re-negotiating CAP would be devastating for Irish farmers.

"The British Prime Minister might not attach much value to the agricultural sector in Britain, but the economic importance of agriculture to rural communities and the nature of farming here in the North of Ireland make the British approach unsustainable.

"Sinn Féin will continue to fight both at EU level and here locally for the long-term sustainability of Irish agriculture." ENDS

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