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300 Dard jobs to go in bid to cut £30m

Staff Reporter newsdesk@irishnews.com

AROUND 300 jobs are to go at the department of agriculture in a bid to save £30m. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Develop- ment (Dard) is facing huge cuts to its budget, along with most other Stormont departments.

Senior staff based in Belfast are expected to apply for several of the redundancies before Dard's headquarters move from the city to Bally-kelly, Co Derry in 2017.

The lower staff numbers will mean fewer individual inspections as part of EU monitoring of Common Agricultural Police (Cap) spending.

Sinn Fein agriculture minister Michelle O'Neill confirmed that all three College of Agriculture Food and Rural Enterprise (Cafre) sites at Green-mount in Co Antrim, Loughry in Co Tyrone and Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh would stay open.

But she said staff numbers at the colleges would be cut.

Funding for research projects will also be reassessed to focus on schemes expected to make the best short-term gains. The proposals will now go out for a six-week consultation.

Ms O'Neill said her spending priorities include tackling rural poverty and isolation.

She said the agricultural and food processing industries also need to work to create jobs.

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