Sinn Fein has launched its new policy document A New Deal for the West which outlines a new vision for the west of Ireland. Chairperson of the Stand up for the West campaign is Mayo General Election candidate Cllr Rose Conway-Walsh who believes this deal will deliver for farmers and fishermen in the west of Ireland who for too long have not been adequately represented.
Conway Walsh said: “A Sinn Féin led government will stand up for the west of Ireland and will be a strong voice for farmers and fishermen. Our vision for the west is to make it a sustainable place to live and work. Ongoing issues such as land eligibility, retrospective penalties and the abolition of the REPS have had a hugely negative impact on smaller farmers and these decisions by government put family farms across Mayo at risk.
“Our fishermen struggle to make a living with unfair quota distribution, low prices, and complex regulations that may make sense at a desk in Dublin or Brussels, but that do not fit with local realities. A Sinn Féin led government will deliver the immediate implementation of a charter of rights for farmers and work towards the establishment of an all island label for meat products. We will also introduce legislation to ensure farmers receive a fair price for their produce and introduce regulation for the meat processing industry. To give small farmers a fighting chance, we will ensure amnesty is put in place for those affected by retrospective penalties and that compensation is made available for designated conservation lands."
She continued: "For fishermen, we propose the immediate establishment of a separate Department of Fisheries, Marine and Marine Communities with a junior minister for the Gaeltacht to ensure that the voice of fishermen is heard at the highest levels. Sinn Féin will introduce measures to develop the aquaculture and seaweed industry for fishermen seeking to diversify or expand. As a representative on the EU Committee of the Regions I will continue to work with our Sinn Féin MEPs to fight for a fair share of the fishing quota and also a single boat payment scheme under a reformed common fisheries policy."
Cllr Conway Walsh concluded: “The time has come to make a stand for small farmers and fishermen. I firmly believe that only a Sinn Féin government will deliver the fairness necessary to ensure these industries at the heart of rural communities thrive into the future.”