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Ministers Smith & Ó Cuív meet Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gildernew in Ballyconnell

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD and the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon Ó Cuív TD held a trilateral meeting today with Michelle Gildernew, the Northern Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development in Ballyconnell, Co. Cavan. Before the meeting the Ministers launched the JFC Awards for Rural Business which is sponsored by Teagasc, JFC Manufacturing, the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Farmers Journal.

Speaking after the meeting Minister Smith said: "We had a very useful exchange of views today on a range of issues including the CAP Health Check and WTO negotiations. I told Minister Gildernew that I looked forward to meeting with her at a formal North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) meeting as soon as possible. The NSMC Agriculture Sector takes decisions on a number of important matters for farmers, including the all-island animal health strategy. I expressed my hope that the current political difficulties in Belfast could be resolved quickly and that the NSMC, a key institution in the Good Friday Agreement, can continue to operate effectively on behalf of all the people on the island."

Date Released: 19 September 2008