Farmers For Action gives backing to DARD HQ switch

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Farmers For Action UK NI’s Steering Committee are in support of moving Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s headquarters to Ballykelly.

The group released a statement highlighting its support for the move and outlining the reasoning behind the stance it was taking.

A spokesman said: “There is currently a culture of pure civil servants promoting themselves upwards at the top of DARD.

“The last of the non-technical commonsense people have now gone.

“This has led to a red tape promoting non adventurous culture of people whose duty it seems to be to play safe avoiding criticism from all quarters including MLAs. The result is stagnation, inefficiency and the extreme abuse of red tape introduction at every opportunity.

“As part of the move to Ballykelly FFA have gleaned that many of the top civil servants in DARD will not move to Ballykelly, therefore this is the main reason why FFA supports the move.

“For Northern Ireland agriculture to move forward the new people to be employed at the top of DARD in Ballykelly must be overseen by the minister to be dynamic, efficient and have the interest of Northern Ireland agriculture at their core and most of all have commonsense when dealing with all things inbound from Brussels and on the home front. Therefore, the old saying, a new broom sweeps clean has been in the mind of the FFA Steering Committee.”

The spokesperson added: “Two positives a) and b) and one part negative c) – FFA are disappointed at the millions having to be spent with the move to Ballykelly when government money is in short supply, however, the status quo is costing Northern Ireland farmers needless millions in over bureaucracy foot dragging, extreme enforcement and red tape creation.”