Brendan Smith welcomes EU agriculture move

Ireland's minister for agriculture, fisheries and food, Brendan Smith, has welcomed a move for funding for rural development from the European Commission.

Fischer Boel announced that an additional Euro 1.5 billion is to be used for “new challenges” in the rural sector.

These include the implementation of the Common Agricultural Policy, which will have impacts on climate change, water management and biodiversity.

Minister Smith said: “I have been pressing for some time for the EU to make use of the available, unused funds within the agreed expenditure ceiling for agriculture and rural development.

“It would be particularly important to us that Ireland receives a fair share of these funds, reflecting our traditionally high spend on rural development measures.”

Agriculture plays a big part in Ireland’s economy, with 8.4% of gross domestic product coming from the sector and 9.5% of employment in the country.

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