Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

"Agricultural and rural communities play a key role in our society" - Gildernew

Published: 5 March, 2015

Sinn Féin MP Michelle Gildernew has spoke of the importance of our farming community after the DARD Public Meeting, addressed by the DARD Minister Michelle O'Neill and senior DARD officials, tonight in Lisnaskea.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP said,

"We facilitated the road show as a result of important decisions which were taken by the Minister Michelle O'Neill last year, particularly regarding CAP reform and the new Rural Development Programme.

"Despite the communication that the Minister and her Department has made available to farmers, there was still some uncertainty about how these welcome changes to Single Farm Payments will affect farmers, particularly regarding the definition of an 'active farmer',"

"There was also much interest about the new schemes which the Minister has developed, such as the new Rural Development Programme, the Young Farmers Scheme and the Farm Business Improvement Schemes so it was extremely beneficial to have the Minister in attendance to directly answer any questions which our farming community had.

The former DARD minister adds,

"There were over 280 people in attendance from right across the county and the questions asked contributed to a really engaged and informative discussion. It is important to regularly consult and engage with farmers and the broader rural community to ensure that we are fully representing their interests, as it is plays a key role in our society.

"I extend my thanks to Minister O'Neill and the Department officials for answering the concerns of the farmers. When I was DARD Minister I too built up a positive working relationship with many farmers from across the constituency and I strive to help the farming community in any way that I can. Therefore I will continue to work with the Minister to ensure their voices are heard." ENDS