[Sinn Fein]

9th July 2003

Sinn Fein calls for All Ireland strategy on CAP reform

The Sinn Fein Spokespersons on Agriculture and Rural Development Martin Ferris TD and Assembly Member Gerry McHugh have called on the British and Irish Governments to conduct a joint approach to the implementation of the CAP reform proposals agreed in Luxembourg on June 26. They have also called on the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to initiate a consultation process similar to that taking place in the 26 Counties.

Deputy Ferris and Mr McHugh said:

``We welcome the decision of the Department of Agriculture in Dublin to initiate this consultation process. Sinn Fein will be presenting our detailed proposals which will outline how we believe the reforms can be made work in the best interests of all Irish farmers. However, it is also vital that similar packages are implemented on both sides of the border. Otherwise, the current problems presented by having two separate administrations over such a vital sector will be made even worse.

``To avoid this, we are calling on both Governments to consult closely and to ensure that whatever decisions are reached will be complementary and of benefit to the majority of farmers in both areas. We note that Minister Pearson has claimed that he secured what he termed `regional flexibility' for the Six Counties in the Luxembourg Agreement. We now call on him to go one step further and to recognise that that `region' is in fact the island of Ireland, and that a common approach needs to be taken to the problems facing agriculture on the whole of this island''.

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