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Sinn Féin urge discussion on single all-Ireland body to negotiate with EU

9 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Michelle Gildernew MP has called for a debate on setting up a single all-Ireland body to negotiate with the EU.

Ms Gildernew said:

"I believe that there is a strong case for the establishment of a single all-Ireland body that can negotiate with the EU. We already have the SEUPB that was set up to allocate EU funds but across a broad range of areas I believe that our hand would be strengthened in negotiations with the EU by having a single body that can fight for the best deal for people across the island.

"In the north it is clear that the British negotiation position has let us down, that it is driven by the needs of Britain and not by the needs of

people living in this part of Ireland. The situation is compounded by British direct rule Ministers whose priority is always to please Whitehall to the detriment of people in the Six Counties.

"I believe that this initiative would receive a positive hearing if London and Dublin made a joint case to Brussels to have Ireland considered as a single entity when negotiating matters relevant to the island.

"This could initially cover areas such as agriculture, fisheries, environment, waste management and infrastructural funding with provision for expansion as further areas are identified. It may also necessitate the creation of a joint body to oversee the rationalisation of regulation and legislation in both parts of the island.

"The border has had a negative impact on the border counties. Both governments claim to be committed to redressing the neglect that this region has suffered since partition. The interests of many in Ireland would clearly benefit from the capacity of a single all-Ireland Negotiating Body that could also centralise consultation of EU matters with the many sectors that are directly affected by the EU.

"Agriculture and Fisheries are prime examples of a sector that warrants a single policy and its effective articulation in Brussels. There are, of course, many other important issues, such as Food Safety and the importation of Genetically Modified seeds and hormone treated animals. These controversies, coupled with environmental, human and animal health concerns surrounding the incineration of waste, will certainly affect both jurisdictions." ENDS

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