Several independent TDs have slammed the government’s response to help farmers with the spiraling fertiliser prices.

During a Dáil debate on topical issues on Tuesday (February 15), deputies Michael Collins, Mattie McGrath and Danny Healy-Rae raised the matter.

“Farmers are on the cusp of losing farms, due to the financially crippling fertiliser costs, which are burying local farmers in debt, mainly due to crazy, Green policies,” Deputy Collins said.

The Cork TD remarked that he could not understand why the government had not used a mechanism to relax the state aid framework, as outlined by EU official Fabien Santini to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

“It is extraordinary that this government has, so far, failed to use this tool to assist our burdened farmers and mitigate the higher global prices of farm inputs. It is shameful that it has not done so,” he said.

Deputy Healy-Rae suggested that the government should subsidise fertiliser and forego the anti-dumping tariff imposed on fertiliser imported from countries outside the EU.

“Farmers cannot work without getting some bit of a profit. At this rate, they will not survive. They will have to pass their costs on to the consumer.

“People are wondering about inflation and what is causing it. This is one of the causes,” the Kerry TD added.


Speaking on behalf of Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, who is on a trade mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Minister of State Pippa Hackett said they are  “closely monitoring the situation” with fertiliser.

The Green Party minister said there is “no sign of fertiliser prices easing in the short- to medium-term” which has been caused by high gas prices and demand from large grain-producing countries.

She said it is hoped that the EU Commission will respond positively when an assessment of the anti-dumping tariffs is completed.

And she pointed to the soil sampling programme, multi-species sward initiative, and Teagasc’s Soils, Nutrients and Fertiliser campaign as some of the ways they are trying to deal with the situation.

However, this was met with a harsh response from the independent deputies.

“This is balderdash and total bunkum. It is also Green Party policy. Talking about growing clover and mixing things is an insult to farmers,” Deputy McGrath stated.

“The government needs to cut out the codswallop and codology and intervene. The EU Commission said member states can intervene but the Minister of State stands idly by and rubs her hands and looks as if she cannot do anything.

“Of course, she can, but she does not want to because Green Party policy is to destroy the farmers and wipe out the farming communities completely. We are going to have a wasteland like Jurassic Park where people can come on holidays. It is shocking,” the Tipperary TD claimed.

Minister Hackett reiterated that “the cost of fertilisers has nothing to do with Green Party policies” but global gas prices.

The minister defended the measures that she had outlined: “It is to enable farmers to become sustainable so that their farms are sustainable for future generations. The current model does not work”.