Ministers Hold Cross-Border Agriculture Meeting

Ongoing moves towards closer co-operation on a range of all-island animal health and welfare issues are on the agenda today as Northern Ireland's Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle Gildernew led a top level delegation to Dublin.

Accompanied by the Stromont Environment Minister, Sammy Wilson, she met with the Irish Republic's Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister Brendan Smith.

The Farmleigh House meeting was the 10th occasion that the North-South Ministerial Council (NSMC) Agriculture sectoral meeting has been held.

Speaking at Dublin's Farmleigh House, Minister Gildernew said: "This is the first NSMC of 2009 and I am pleased to report progress on a number of fronts.

"Following the contaminated feed incident at the end of last year, we have agreed to strengthen our cooperation in dealing with major incidents of this nature and requested our officials to review and if necessary, revise the existing arrangements.

"My officials continue to work closely with their counterparts in Dublin to finalise the All-island Animal Health and Welfare Strategy," she said.

"I am pleased to note the progress on the development of the strategy," continued the Sinn Féin MLA.

"I welcome the consultation with our key stakeholders that has taken place, and welcome the support of farming organisations North and South.

"We have agreed to convene a cross-border event later this year to bring together key stakeholders to discuss delivery of the strategy," she concluded.


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