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Independent Environmental Protection Agency must be a priority

9 May, 2007

Sinn Féin Environmental Spokesperson, North Antrim MLA Daithí McKay, has said that the setting up of an independent and effective Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be made a priority within the Department of the Environment.

Mr McKay was speaking after he was appointed to the Assembly's Environment Committee which will be charged with holding Environment Minister Arlene Foster to account.

Mr McKay said:

"Sinn Féin is fully committed to the establishment of an effective all-Ireland EPA and will be lobbying for such an agency to be set up in the new Assembly.

"Its vitally important that an EPA has strong legal powers to operate effectively and that it is totally independent to ensure that there is no departmental or political interference in its affairs.

"This proposal has strong support from across the spectrum in the Environmental sector and we will be pushing the new Minister to ensure that work begins on this right away. A new EPA should not only work to the benefit of and protect the environment; it should also work in the interests of other groups such as the Irish farming and fishing community." ENDS

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