10 July 2008 Edition

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Sinn Féin's Clarke addresses hearing on CAP health check

Willie Clarke MLA, in Brussels with Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún

Willie Clarke MLA, in Brussels with Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún

THE Sinn Féin MLA for South Down, Willie Clarke, addressed a public hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels this week on CAP Health Check legislative proposals and the future of agriculture under CAP. The hearing was organised by the Confederation of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left at a time when food prices are spiralling.
Speaking from Brussels on Tuesday, Clarke said:
“Looking at the Health Check proposals, it should be possible to reach agreement on most of the issues contained within the proposals but we would stress the need for good communication between DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the Assembly at both ministerial and official level. Much effort needs to be made to reach an agreed position.”
Welcoming Clarke’s participation in the public hearing, Bairbre de Brún MEP said:
“In terms of the CAP Health Check, there must be a balance between simplifying matters and making them more effective and giving farmers some sort of stability as they produce food for us and maintain the countryside. If it is implemented fairly, we should welcome a limit to large payments to large-scale farmers or to large companies as a step forward from the Common Agricultural Policy which only helps big landowners. It is also important that only active farmers are included in payment entitlements.”

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