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MEPs from EP's Agriculture Committee visit Ireland

18-04-2007

A delegation of MEPs from the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee paid a 3-day visit to Ireland to 'look at Irish agriculture and to listen to farmers' in the words of the Committee's Chairman, Neil Parish MEP. The delegation included Mairéad McGuinness MEP (FG), together with MEPs from the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal and Poland.

Led by the Chairman, Neil Parish MEP, the delegation visited a dairy farm (Mark and Phyllis Cassidy), a cattle & poultry farm (Dermot Crinnion) and a farm owned by Colum McDonnell, Chairman of the IFA's Grain Committee. They also paid a visit to the European Food and Veterinary Office, Teagasc's Research Centre in Meath, the Centre for Renewable Energy in Dundalk, Bord Bia, the Irish Dairy Board and Newgrange (where a lunch was hosted by Glanbia). The delegation ended their trip by meeting senior Government officials in the Department of Agriculture and participating in a working lunch with representatives of the IFA and Macra na Feirme.

Speaking after the visit, Mr Parish commented that "we were particularly interested in the issue of cross-compliance and in the need to simplify procedures, working out whether complications are the cause of the European Union or of the Irish authorities. We put ourselves in the role of 'honest broker' for this visit."

Mairéad McGuinness MEP commented that "farmers appreciate that checks and balances are a necessary part of the system to reassure European taxpayers that their contributions are being used to best effect.  However, the excessive red tape in the current system is delivering for no one ..[..].. What we need is a system that would help farmers to comply rather than the current one that seeks to catch them out."

Note:

The European Parliament's Agriculture Committee has a responsibility for the following areas:

*The Common Agricultural Policy
*Rural Development
*Veterinary and plant-health matters and animal feedingstuffs
*Animal husbandry and welfare
*Improvement in the quality of agricultural products
*Supplies of agricultural raw materials
*The Community Plant Variety Office
*Forestry

For further information, please contact Eimear Ní Bhroin, Press Officer:

086 8559423 / eimear.nibhroin@europarl.europa.eu