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McHugh calls for radical shake of agriculture depts north and south

23 June, 2003


Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, former Fermanagh South Tyrone MLA Gerry McHugh has said that what ever the final outcome of the negotiations around CAP reform this week that decoupling demands a radical shake up of how the agriculture departments - north and south - engage with the farming industry and rural communities.

Mr McHugh said:

"The key to successful CAP reform must be that the agriculture departments - North and South - commit themselves to eradicating red tape. The introduction of decoupling from 2006 will itself have an immediate impact in reducing red tape.

"We also need to see both departments working to maintain farming and rural communities. This means that they must listen. This means that from today we need a new culture of openness, accountability and accessibility. It means engaging not just at European level but also on the ground with farming and rural communities.

"Particularly in the South, the failure of Joe Walsh and the IFA to engage with Europe left our agriculture industry dangerously exposed. Thankfully the IFA has reassessed its' position and collectively we have forced Joe Walsh to wake up to the reality of decoupling. We need to build on that responsiveness."ENDS

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