“We don`t have the time to go down the route of the comprehensive spending review within government”

Whether it’s “great news for the local farming industry” or “selling off the family silver”, it would have been better to have seen more visible deliberations before yesterday’s announcement that the publicly owned 100 acre Northern Ireland Plant Testing Station at Crossnacreevy is to be sold to cover the costs of meeting an EU deadline on improving environmental protection measures on farms. According to the Agriculture Minister, Michelle Gildernew

The minister revealed: “We are selling the land at Crossnacreevy because we have exhausted the other avenues for getting this money. This is a large amount of money, £89 million, which we need to have if this work is to be completed by December 2008. We weren`t able to pursue it through the Department of Finance and Personnel. We don`t have the time to go down the route of the comprehensive spending review within government.”

The official statement mentions the “strategic disposal” at the end

As part of DARD’s obligations this arrangement includes the strategic disposal of land at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (ABFI) Crossnacreevy site. It will also involve relocation of staff. This is expected to occur within the CSR period which ends in 2010/2011.

It is planned to implement the staff relocation and disposal in such a way that it does not disrupt nor reduce the AFBI experimental, arable and grasslands programmes, nor impact upon the staffing levels associated with them.

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  • Rapunsel

    Why can farmers not meet their own costs relating to environmental protection on farms? Joke that’s why — the mollycoddled farmers expecting others to pick up the tabs as usual!

  • Elvis parker

    Can someone explain how selling 100 acres at £25000 an acre covers a gap of £89m?

  • joeCanuck

    “t would have been better to have seen more visible deliberations before yesterday’s announcement ”

    You would have thought so Pete. Presumably a valid business case was presented to establish that facility in the first place. It would be nice to know why that is no longer valid rather than just saying we’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. Wouldn’t that be a budgetary matter?

  • Cynic

    Elvis, 100 acres at £25k doesnt add up to £90m but 100 acres at £900K does and you could only get £900k for it if it were for housing development. Even dead people dont pay that much so the cemetry is a red herring.

    But on the other hand this area is green belt and didn’t the locals see off a recent development proposal nearby?

    So now our new, together, squeaky clean Government couldnt possibly be planning a little behind the scenes deal to overturn their own planning policies just to create a nice little cash cow, could they?

    And if the locals object, then well, what do they want – a view of 100 acres of expensive little boxes or rows and rows of fresh graves depressing their property values?

    I wonder which Developer will win this little gem. Any bets on the outcome? Irish unity? We are getting more and more like the Republic every day