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3 October 2016 Edition

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Sinn Féin packs them in at the Ploughing Championships

• Crowds pack the Sinn Féin tent to listen to Gerry Adams

A HUGE CROWD packed out the Sinn Féin tent and was spilling out the door at the annual National Ploughing Championships, held this year in County Offaly, for the party's talk and Q&A on the potential impacts of Brexit – the British withdrawal from the EU – on the whole of Ireland.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams was swamped by well-wishers when he arrived at the event, despite scurrilous and unsubstantiated allegations made against him by paid British informants and parroted by mainstream media.

Sinn Féin had a major presence throughout the three-day event from 20-22 September at Screggan, Tullamore, Europe's largest outdoor exhibition, attracting an estimated 300,000 people.

Thousands of people visited the Sinn Féin stall where they grabbed a cup of tea and the chance to meet elected representatives from all over Ireland and discuss key issues with them on the fringes of the talks on: ‘A National Health Service’, ‘EU trade deals – Bad for farmers’, ‘Brexit, Irish unity and agriculture’, ‘A fair economy for rural Ireland’, ‘Investing in rural Ireland’, ‘Meeting the challenges of price volatility’, and ‘2017 CAP review – Defending the interests of Irish farmers’.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, Offaly Sinn Féin TD Carol Nolan said the event is “invaluable” when it comes to meeting and discussing key issues affecting those living in rural communities.

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• Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams arrives at the annual National Ploughing Championships

Dublin Central TD Mary Lou McDonald was keen to outline her own rural credentials, despite being elected for the most urban constituency in Ireland:

“Believe it or not, my mother is from Tipperary, so I actually know how to milk a cow by hand,” she told reporters, to much amusement. “I spent all of my summers on the family farm in the Glen of Aherlow!”

Speaking to An Phoblacht in Screggan, Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson Martin Kenny TD said the issue of farm incomes needs to be addressed:

“Farm incomes are the key issue. Farmers put in all the work, take all the risks and they get the least out of their produce.

“Whenever we open the fridge or the press, whatever we take out of it, a farmer had to produce it, yet the farmer is the one who makes the least out of it. 

“If you want good food, then you pay a good price for it, but unfortunately, the farmer never gets a reflection of that. That needs to change.”

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• Matt Carthy MEP, Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh, Carol Nolan TD, Liadh Ní Riada MEP, Mary Lou McDonald TD and Martin Kenny TD at the Sinn Féin tent in Screggan

Meanwhile, the Irish Independent was left red-faced after it leapt to politically censor a participant in its “Farmer’s Makeover” event at the Ploughing Championships. 

A shocked crowd watched as an Irish Independent apparatchik snatched a microphone from the hands of one makeover candidate, who took the opportunity to hit back at the newspaper’s distorted coverage of Sinn Féin. His view was silenced almost immediately by Indo technicians, who dramatically shut down the sound to the stage, perhaps reinforcing the point that had been already been well made.

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