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Sinn Féin to attend DARD Balmoral Breakfast

10 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew and Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy will attend the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Breakfast at the Balmoral Show in Belfast tomorrow morning, Thursday 11th May.

Speaking today Ms Gildernew said:

"It will not be lost on the farming community that last year the DARD Breakfast was Jeff Rooker's first formal engagement and that 12 months on we will have yet another part-time direct rule Minister whose first engagement will be the Balmoral Show.

"The revolving door of Agriculture Ministers is not good for the industry and I think everyone accepts that we need to put a stop to it. Of course over the next number of weeks there is a clear opportunity for the political parties to stand up and say enough is enough. This represents a particular challenge for the DUP.

"We don't need yet another part-timer who's interests lie elsewhere, to the detriment of local farmers and the rural community, we need a locally accountable minister in charge.

"If Ian Paisley is as concerned about the future of farmers as he claims, then he will act in the next two weeks to ensure that the North had its own agriculture minister and scrutiny committee. This is what the rural communities want. As chair of the previous Agricultural committee Mr Paisley put himself forward as the champion of rural communities, but he has shoulder much responsibility for the poor decisions taken by direct rule ministers."

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