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Ministers Meet with Farming Unions

by 5m Editor
27 July 2011, at 8:45am

NORTHERN IRELAND, UK - Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill last night hosted a meeting with her southern counterpart and the north’s two farming unions.

CAP reform, disease eradication and animal welfare were the focus of the discussions at the meeting which was attended by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and members of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) and Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers’ Association (NIAPA).

Speaking afterwards Michelle O'Neill said: "Today's meeting was a useful opportunity to discuss a number of areas of mutual interest and I am encouraged that Minister Coveney is interested in hearing the views of our two farming unions.

"CAP Reform is a critically important issue for us all and it is important that we have opportunities such as these to hold face to face discussions on the issue, especially given the fact that the south will be in the Presidency during the final stages of the negotiations.

"We also discussed further cooperation on disease eradication policies with a particular focus on achieving BR free status in the north.

"Finally, it was helpful to update the unions on progress with the All Island Animal Health Strategy with the ultimate aim of free movement of animals throughout the island of Ireland."

Minister O’Neill concluded: "Agriculture is a sector which makes a huge economic contribution throughout Ireland. This is why it is of great importance that we continue to work together on the development of our respective animal health and welfare strategies to ensure we have a common approach where possible, which will in turn help the agri-food sector flourish across the island."

Minister Coveney added: "I welcome being given the opportunity to listen to the voices and concerns of farming organisations in Northern Ireland and to know we share many of the same priorities in terms of CAP reform and of growing the Agri Food Industry on the island of Ireland. I look forward in the future to working in partnership with Minister Michelle O Neill and the Northern Ireland Assembly."