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Government must fight for survival of farming and fishing in West of Ireland – Ferris

30 July, 2008 - by Martin Ferris TD

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Fisheries Spokesperson Martin Ferris TD, speaking after visiting Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon today said there is relief among those in the farming community that the WTO deal has collapsed.

Deputy Ferris, who is currently compiling a report for the Oireachtas Committee of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on what is required to ensure the future viability of agriculture and fisheries in the West of Ireland, said the Government must ensure that Irish Agriculture is safeguarded in any future negotiations for a WTO deal.

He said, "It is clear from my engagements today that there is a sense of relief in rural communities that the WTO deal has collapsed. That deal was the single biggest threat to Irish Agriculture particularly in the west of Ireland where smaller farms are more prominent.

"Over the past couple of weeks I have been to most counties on the West coast visiting rural communities and farming and fishing organisations and the WTO deal has been on everyone's minds.

"The fishermen are also very concerned that the Government is not standing up for their interests. The EU Common Fisheries Policy is killing the fishing industry here in Ireland as the quota system means our fishermen cannot earn a decent living.

"Having consulted with people from all over the west of Ireland over the past couple of weeks it is immediately clear that the Government must fight for farming and fishing in the west. Two things immediately spring to mind. The Government must ensure that agriculture is not made the sacrificial lamb at the negotiation table for any future WTO deal and they must demand a renegotiation of the Common Fisheries Policy as it applies to Ireland." ENDS

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