[Sinn Fein]

8th April 2002

MacManus calls for end to farming red tape

Sinn Fein Sligo/Leitrim election candidate Councillor Seán MacManus has called for government action to bring an end to the massive level of red tape and bureaucracy involved in farming.

Speaking to party activists in Gurteen, Cllr. MacManus said:

``Farmers are being asked to be vets, accountants, experts on soil nutrition as well as to carry the difficult and ever less financially rewarding chores associated with agriculture. 56% of farmers' income presently comes from various EU schemes.

''It is therefore vital that this income is received on time, with minimum red tape. The Department of Agriculture must end their practice of treating farmers as fraudsters for basic errors made in applying for monies to which they are legally entitled.

``Sinn Fein favours a simplification of EU procedures that have our farmers plagued with overcomplicated forms and regulations. There needs to be an Irish examination of EU laws relating to farmers to curb and control Brussels' bureaucracy.

``Small farmers in particular are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain a living off the land. We should not permit regulations and guidelines to place an extra burden on them.''

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