West Tyrone UUP MLA and Vice Chair of Omagh District Council, Ross Hussey has condemned the Agricultural Minister Michele O'Neil and her Department following their confirmation that they will not be represented at Omagh Show this year.
In response to Assembly Questions put to the Minister, she has confirmed that her Department will not be represented at 4 of the 12 agricultural shows in Northern Ireland and that one of the events they will be absent from is Omagh.
Mr Hussey continued
“Omagh is the county town of Tyrone, agriculture is the backbone of business in Tyrone and the failure of the Minister and her Department to be represented at this event is a scandal.
I have asked the Minister to justify this decision and explain how such a decision was reached. Common sense would dictate that all 12 shows should receive at least the attendance of the Department and its local officers and I can see no reason why this decision was made.
I am calling upon the Minister today to urgently review this decision and to ensure that if she cant spare then time to attend, she at least ensures her Department is represented. These shows give local farmers the opportunity to meet with officials in a less formal environment and clearly in these hard economic times the best place for DARD officials to be is out and about encouraging farmers and providing support.
Where best can this support be provided if not an agricultural show?”