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Sinn Féin MEP welcomes decision to lift Beef Ban

8 March, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has welcomed the decision of the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health to lift restrictions on beef exports from the six counties.


Speaking from Brussels Ms de Brún said:


"Sinn Féin has long called for the lifting of the ban and, based on the substantial scientific evidence, there is no reason that the beef export ban should remain in place. Today's decision represents one of the final steps in a long process, and it is to be hoped that the remaining steps can be taken in weeks rather than months.


“Farmers in the North have suffered losses of tens of millions since the ban was imposed in 1996 - farmers who have some of the best quality beef in Europe. It is to be hoped that we will now see a speedy re-opening of the export market to farmers in the Six Counties. Not only will today's decision allow exports to re-open but it will also allow for the trade and movement of animals across Ireland to occur in the near future.


"This is a very welcome announcement indeed for farmers across the north, indeed for the whole of our economy.


“I want to pay tribute to farmers and their representatives, other stakeholders and those in the political sphere who worked hard to move this issue forward over the past number of years. All those who worked hard to secure today's positive announcement can be rightly proud.  I will continue to work with the rural and agricultural sector to see the 10 year export ban consigned to history in the coming weeks.”


Michelle Gildernew MP MLA the party agricultural spokesperson has said "Today's decision should soon result in a new beginning to the beef industry in the North of Ireland. Farmers have lost tens of million of pounds over the past 10 years in being unable to export beef. This decision will also allow for the opening up of a live trade into the South and deliver considerably greater competition in cattle prices and take away some of the dominance of the processors" .ENDS


Note: Bairbre de Brún is a member of the EU Environment Committee

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