Budget 2020 will come as a “profound disappointment to farmers in general”, according to the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA).

Commenting on the budget, announced by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe earlier today, Tuesday, October 8, ICMSA president Pat McCormack said there is “no sense of urgency” being communicated around the threat facing Irish farming at this time.

He said that the Government has washed its hands of the many challenges facing farmers.

In a normal year, that budget would be underwhelming but where we are now – 23 days from the Brexit cliff – its lack of urgency and detail will be profoundly shocking, certainly to ICMSA’s family farm membership and the wider rural economy.

In terms of current Brexit-related losses, the president said it would appear the Government has decided to “let farm families take the hit on this” which he said is completely unacceptable.

“The ‘big ticket’ Brexit fund announced was in the event of a ‘no deal’ – but what about the losses suffered as and from May 12 and we must remember that even the fund before May 12 actually excluded dairy farmers with herds over 40 cows.

“The ICMSA won’t be alone in finding it very concerning that there was not a single specific reference today to our hugely valuable dairy exports and the potential impact in the event of a no-deal Brexit,” McCormack said.

The president also raised questions over the income volatility challenge facing farmers not being addressed, leaving farm families exposed. Continuing, he said:

The 1.5% increase in stamp duty will hit farmers trying to build viable units and is hugely disappointing in that context.

On the element surrounding the Just Transition Commissioner, McCormack questioned who determines what is deemed “just”.

“We want to be part of the solution on climate change and carbon reduction; but I’m very concerned by unelected officials who’ll be given sweeping powers and we’ll be watching this very carefully.

“I regret to say that I do not think the Government has shown any degree of understanding about the depth and multi-pronged nature of the threat that Irish farming and food production is facing right now and farmers will be hugely disappointed by Budget 2020,” the president concluded.