[Sinn Fein]

26th February 2003

Ferris Calls For Consultation On Special Protection Areas

Sinn Fein Spokesperson on Agriculture and Rural Development, Martin Ferris TD has called on the Minister for the Environment Martin Cullen to initiate a process of consultation prior to the publication, in early April, of the list of proposed Special Protection Areas. Deputy Ferris claimed that the secretive manner in which the designation was taking place was causing widespread disquiet within rural communities and that those affected have a right to be consulted. Deputy Ferris said;

``I will be asking the Minister in the Dáil to initiate this process to include the individual landowners affected, local elected representatives, the farming organisations, and independent scientific experts. No-one is arguing against the protection of wildlife and habitats but the manner in which this process is taking place and the possible implications it will have, is causing widespread alarm among rural communities. The best way to overcome this is to involve those affected and to explain the basis of how the designations are arrived at''.

Deputy Ferris was speaking ahead of a meeting on the subject to be held at Templeglantine, County Limerick on Thursday evening.

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