[Sinn Fein]

7th January 2003

Ferris Demands Action On Crisis In Farming

The Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD has demanded that the Government take urgent action to address the crisis in farming. Ferris was speaking as farmers began a mass protest to draw attention to the fall in income and the threat to the survival of thousands of family farms and rural communities.

Ferris said; ``The fact that farmers feel that they must embark on an action such as this is an indication of the depth of the frustration being felt by thousands of farmers whose livelihoods are under threat. While Minister Walsh may claim that most of the factors underlying the crisis are outside of the control of his Department, the cuts in the various agricultural and rural development programmes contained in the Estimates are an indication of the Government's lack of commitment to maintaining rural communities.

``I have raised this on numerous occasions in the Dáil and will continue to press for radical action to be taken to ensure that not only does farming remain a viable option for those wishing to remain on the land, but that real effort is made to ensure the balanced development of those communities currently facing economic collapse and social isolation.''

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