21 September 2000 Edition

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Cross Border Injustice to farmers

Farmers on both sides of the Louth Border came to a meeting this week, organised by Louth Sinn Féin councillor Arthur Morgan, about brucellosis in cattle, which is at an all time high in the South Armagh area. The authorities in Armagh over the past two years have failed to notify, as required by the law, the adjoining farmers in Louth of the incidence of brucellosis on a neighbouring farm. There have been 41 cases of brucellosis in the last 12 months in Armagh.

``Not only have the authorities failed to conform to legal obligation to notify neighbouring farmers, but compensation rates to farmers whose herds get brucellosis, on either side of the border, discriminate severely against farmers north of the Border,'' said Morgan.

``Farmers in Armagh are compensated only to the market value of the animals lost. South of the border, farmers are compensated above and beyond the market value, with an extra £450 per animal, an additional £100 paid later, and are automatically entitled to receive unemployment benefit whilst they are without farm income through loss of their herd.

``This arises directly because of the British policy of withholding EU funding, allocated by the EU to farmers or to disadvantaged areas. The payments made to farmers in compensation, paid by the Dublin Government, are largely funded from EU money. ``This'' says Arthur Morgan ``is the reality of partition for farmers.''

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1