2nd July 2003
Sinn Fein meets with ICSA
The Sinn Fein spokespersons on Agriculture and Rural Development Martin Ferris TD and Assembly Member Gerry McHugh met today with members of the ICSA National Executive to discuss a number of issues including CAP reform and the development of an all Ireland approach to the problems facing Irish farmers. The Sinn Fein representatives also pledged their support for the ICSA's demand to be included in Agriculture Minister Joe Walsh's negotiations with the farming organisations on the implementation of the CAP reforms.
Deputy Ferris and Mr McHugh said:
``Now that the EU Ministers have agreed on the outline of the proposed CAP reform, we are about to enter into negotiations on the details of their implementation. Of particular importance will be the issue of decoupling. Sinn Fein will be urging that the Minister opt for full decoupling and we will also be outlining our detailed proposals on how we would like to see the overall package being implemented and how that should fit with overall strategy.
``We would also like to record our full support for the ICSA's right to be included in the negotiations. Although it is not currently recognised as one of the social partners, the ICSA has earned that right through its excellent record of engagement in the debate on the CAP reforms since they were first proposed in July 2002. Alone among the major farming organisations, the ICSA conducted a thorough analysis of the proposals and initiated a wide ranging debate among its members and the broader farming public.
``Having done so, it came to the conclusion that decoupling represented the best possible option for the future of Irish farming. We believe that it must now be given the opportunity to argue this position within the formal consultations on their implementation''.
Deputy Ferris formally requested that the ICSA be included during his contribution to a debate on the Department of Agriculture's Statement of Strategy that took place at the Joint Committee on Agriculture and Food held this afternoon.
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