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Allister again challenges DARD on FMS funding

24 February 2010


TUV Leader Jim Allister has further criticised Minister Gildernew’s Tranche 2 eligibility criteria for modernisation grants, following the Minister’s defence of preference for applicants from LFAs.

In a statement Mr Allister said:-

“The more the Minister says about this matter the more evident it becomes that she is pursuing a narrow jaundiced agenda, with sectarian overtones. She knows that in prioritising LFA farmers – who certainly deserve fair and adequate assistance, the very recognition which lies behind LFA status – she is deliberately giving preference to one community over the other. Whereas, a system which would give priority to those farmers who were not successful in Tranche 1 would spread the money equitably and in a non-discriminatory fashion.

“Under the Minister’s approach some farmers will get a second pay-out under FMS while others, predominantly from lowland areas, will for the second time get nothing.

“Sinn Fein love to talk about ‘equality’, well, it’s time the Minister embraced equality in the distribution of FMS money. This is why I have called for her policy to be equality proofed.

“When the reality that most modulation contributions come from lowland farmers is added, then DARD’s stance becomes even more indefensible.

“Maximising economic output should be a tangible product of modernisation, but that cannot be arbitrarily restricted to one classification of farm. This is what the Minister is seeking to do. She should desist and recognise DARD is supposed to champion the needs and interests of all farmers, without favour.”


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Agriculture and Environment