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Rooker 'sounds death knell for fishing industry'

27 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has said that today's announcement from Jeff Rooker that there will be no compensation payments to fishermen during the 2006 tie-up period is an absolute disaster for the fishing industry.

Ms Gildernew said:

"This is not the first time that Jeff Rooker has sold the fishing industry short. Many said that he was not fit for the job when he absented himself from key talks on the quotas in Europe. It seems that on an almost daily basis there is mounting evidence that Rooker and the senior civil servant advisors around him do not know what is best for our farming, fishing or rural communities.

"What is even more infuriating is that there is EU compensation on offer but that Jeff Rooker is not to willing to draw it down. The tie-up is a direct result of EU regulation and there is compensation available. Why not for our fishermen? Is this because the British government has once again refused to match fund EU compensation? This is short sighted because the long-term the impact will be devastating and far more costly in social and economic terms.

"This could well sound the death knell for our fishing industries. We need to get the British influence out of the system because it is a disaster. The comparison with the approach to the long-term viability of fishing communities in the South could not be more stark." ENDS

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