Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Assembly team meet Ulster Farmers Union

15 November, 2006

The Sinn Féin Assembly team meet with the Ulster Farmers Union yesterday in Stormont to discus the key issues facing the farming industry and particularly the demand to tackle red tape and bureaucracy within DARD as well as a Programme for Government agenda for an incoming Executive of locally accountable ministers.

The UFU delegation included Kenneth Sharkey, President and Wesley Aston, Policy Officer.

Speaking after the meeting Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew said:

"There is mush agreement between Sinn Féin and the Ulster Farmers Union on the problems facing the industry, not least the fundamental problem of red tape and bureaucracy within DARD and the practice of 'gold plating' EU regulations to the detriment of the farmer.

"The comparison between the approach adopted in Dublin could not be more stark. The response to the farmers charter is a perfect example of the different approach. The zero tolerance approach of DARD is penalising farmers who make even the slightest error in filling out the copious application forms.

"The failure of DARD to be a champion for the farmer is also exposed in how it has handled the issue of the Farm Waste Management Scheme and the Farm Nutrient Management Scheme. Only yesterday my party colleague Bairbre de Brún MEP met Commissioner Fischer-Boel to press for an extension to the deadline for the scheme which is due to end on November 30th.

"The Assembly team also listened with interest to the proposals from the UFU on a future Programme for Government.

"It is time that the British government stopped pandering to the DUP and convened the Programme for Government committee that was postponed at the behest of the DUP so that we can start work on developing the programme of work for an incoming Executive and deal with other key issues such as the timeframe for the devolution of policing and justice powers." ENDS

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