[Sinn Fein]

9 December 1997

Farmers Blockade - British Duplicity

Sinn Fein Vice President Pat Doherty has welcomed the announcement by Scottish farmers that they are to lift their blockade of Irish farm exports. He also called for an immediate end to the harrrassment of Irish hauliers at other British ports. Mr. Doherty accused the British government of duplicity regarding the blockade - their condemnation of similar tactics by French farmers is in stark contrast to their silence during this dispute.

Mr Doherty said:

``I welcome the announcement by Scottish farmers that they are to lift their blockade of Irish farm products and hope that the farmers in England and Wales take a similar decision.

``The disruption and harassment experienced by Irish hauliers at British Ports mirrors events at French ports a number of weeks ago. The British government spurred on by their tabloid press berated the French government for their inaction. However during this dispute the British government stood ` idly by' with no public calls for action taken against those engaged in this blockade. The British government have shown by their inaction their usual duplicity when it comes to matters that effect the Irish.

``The angry British farmers should direct their energies against their own government, and its bureaucratic structures, who allowed the cannibalisation of beef which resulted in CJD or Mad Cow disease. As a direct consequence of this disastrous policy the European Union understandably introduced a ban on British beef something which is central to this dispute. The blockade should be lifted and the harassment and intimidation of Irish hauliers by British farmers should end.''

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