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Sinn Féin endorse 'Charter of Farmers' Rights'

26 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has endorsed the Ulster Farmers Union call for a 'Charter of Farmers' Rights' in the north at an event co-sponsored by the main political parties in the Long Gallery at Stormont today. Ms Gildernew also called for delivery on the promised freedom to farm and an end to red tape and bureaucracy.

Ms Gildernew said:

"It is clear that farmers are not getting a fair deal in the north, they are being strangled by an overly bureaucratic approach, particularly to the implementation of EU regulations.

"Sinn Féin fully endorse the demand for a 'Charter of Farmers' Rights' in the north, similar to the one operative in the south, to protect the rights of the farming community. The industry was promised the freedom to farm but this hasn't been the case. In particular the comparison between the 'zero tolerance' approach adopted by DARD compared our counterparts in the South shows the need for this Charter.

"There have been a number of very interesting comments in recent days, particularly from political figures such as Ian Paisley, about the relationships and comparisons across the island.

"Sinn Féin has consistently argued that our farmers in the north are not getting a fair deal. The department has not been their champion and the British framework not just fails our industry but sells us short in Europe.

"The case for the all-Ireland approach is extremely strong when it comes to all of the farming sectors, as well as the fishing industry and in relation to the implementation of EU regulations. I welcome the growing acknowledgement of this across the political spectrum. It is essential that as champions of rural communities that we put the interests of our rural industries, particularly farming, and rural communities first." ENDS

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