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Carthy meets Comhar na nOileán to galvanise EU supports for island communities

16 October, 2014 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Speaking today after a meeting with representatives of Comhar na nOileán, Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy said:

“I want to commend Comhar na nOileán for the tremendous work they have done in representing the interests of our island communities.

“Comhar na nOileán have identified a number of innovative pilot projects that would help develop sustainable best practice for island communities in terms of agriculture, tourism and rural development.

“A key issue for the group is developing a mechanism by which the group can deliver LEADER and Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme funding for the benefits of island communities.

“I was heartened by the response of the Minister for Environment when Sinn Féin raised this issue as he stated that it was possible for such mechanisms to be developed with agreement of the local agencies. It is important now that all key stakeholders work together to ensure that this agreement is achieved sooner rather than later.

“I have taken a number of key points from today’s meeting and I intend to raise these with relevant officials in Europe and also with the relevant Ministers here in Ireland.

“I was also delighted to extend an invitation to the group to be part of an EU delegation in November organised by Sinn Féin in order to discuss the LEADER funding programme and I am glad that the group have accepted this invitation. I am hopeful that this will afford them the opportunity to put forward a strong case for island communities to relevant officials in Europe, particularly in terms of rural development.

“I have also asked my party colleague Pearse Doherty to submit a Parliamentary question to the Minister for Agriculture in order to clarify what specific supports will be provided to island communities under the Rural Development Programme, given the specific conditions which apply to farming in this environment.

“Island communities have been hit hard over the past number of years with increasing emigration and unemployment and they need our support in order to ensure that these communities survive and thrive into the future.”

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