[Sinn Fein]

6 February 2001

Sinn Fein meets Agriculture Minister in Lebanon to boost beef trade with the Middle East

Sinn Fein representatives met Lebanon's Agriculture Minister in Beirut today to improve beef trade links between Ireland and the Middle East.

Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle member and Kerry County Councillor Martin Ferris and Monaghan UDC Councillor Owen Smyth met the Agriculture Minister this morning before going on to meet Lebanese farming organisations.

The Sinn Fein delegation has already met the Prime Minister's Parliamentary Assistant, the Minister for Communications, and the Minister for Defence (one of the biggest beef contractors id the Lebanese Army).  They have also had talks with the Beirut Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

Speaking from Beirut, Cllr Martin Ferris said:

``Talks are ongoing and there has been an encouraging response from all the ministers and trade organisations that Cllr Owen Smyth and I have met.

``This has already proven to have been a tremendously positive trip and we are looking forward to developing some very worthwhile trade agreements in the farm sector which will be mutually beneficial to Ireland and Lebanon.''  ENDS

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