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Tuesday, 8 February, 2000, 20:20 GMT
MP branded insensitive over farm suicides

Paul Flynn Paul Flynn MP: Criticised by Countryside Alliance


The Countryside Alliance in Wales has called on Newport West MP Paul Flynn to apologise to the farming community for "insensitive remarks" about suicides.

The Alliance says his claim that the only reason suicide rates are higher among farmers is because they have greater access to shotguns has appalled rural Wales.



The main reason why there's a large number of suicides among farmers is because they have shotguns handy
Labour MP Paul Flynn

Mr Flynn angered the National Farmers' Union Cymru Wales and Brecon AM Kirsty Williams, who demanded he apologise.

NFU Cymru Wales Director Malcolm Thomas said: "It's stupid and shows how out of touch Labour is with rural Wales."


AM Kirsty Williams: Called for apology
During a BBC Radio Wales Ceredigion by-election programme, he said there were more suicides than ever before.

"The main reason why there is a large number of suicides among farmers is because they have shotguns handy," he said.

The comments about farmers arose following a blockade of supermarket distribution centres in Bristol and Warrington on Thursday, in protest protest over imports of foreign meat

Mr Flynn dismissed the action as "propaganda".

"Day after day, relentlessly, they block roads, they demonstrate, they are a very small part of our economy," he said.

"They are in trouble without a doubt, there are suicides but no more suicides than there have ever been in farming."

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See also:
02 Feb 00 |  Wales
Farmers' plea reaches Downing Street
26 Jan 00 |  Wales
Brown promises to back Welsh farmers
18 Jan 00 |  Wales
Farmer tells his own story
17 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Mowlam has changed drugs debate - MP
16 Dec 99 |  Wales
AM's tears over farm suicides

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