25 February 2000

Ulster video nasty

PRIME Minister Tony Blair has been presented with an "X-rated" video showing in graphic detail the horrific condition of Northern Irelands farming industry.

Will Taylor, president of the Ulster Farmers Union delivered to Downing Street a video of a recent BBC Northern Ireland programme highlighting the farming crisis. Copies were also sent to chancellor Gordon Brown, farm minister Nick Brown and Bank of England governor Eddie George.

Mr Taylor said he wanted to inform the key players of the extent of the problem in Northern Ireland, where farm incomes have plummeted by 79 % in the past five years.

He said: "Central government must recognise that Northern Ireland is suffering more acutely than any other region in Europe. The current position is unsustainable."

Afterwards, Mr Taylor returned to Belfast where he hosted a meeting with farm union leaders from England, Scotland and Wales. A co-ordinated approach to lobbying is vital when tackling issues such as agrimonetary compensation for farmers, he said.

Our farmers are suffering most, claims union leader Will Taylor.