Calls for farmers to be ‘treated sympathetically’ in Covid-19 payment applications

The Government has been urged to “look on farmers sympathetically” when they apply for Covid-19-related social welfare payments.

Independent Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae highlighted in the Dáil last week that he was aware of some farmers who had applied for payment, but that “he did not know whether they will get it”.

“We all know that, in the past 12 months, farmers have been hitting very hard times, with very low financial returns. It is worse then ever,” Healy-Rae argued.

I do not honestly know how they will continue. I know that some of them have applied for the Covid-19 payment. I do not know whether they will get it. I am depending on the Government to ensure they do.

“Pressure on health, including mental health, is a serious matter to which we must attend, but people can only take so much,” the TD warned.

He added: “The farmers have taken a lot over the past year-and-a-half…. Bad weather does not seem to manifest itself up here on the eastern side of the country at all. It has been pouring in the west of Ireland since last August until very recently.”

Healy-Rae stressed: “Farmers are depressed and very downtrodden at present.

Concluding his remarks, the TD said: “There are many poor farmers out there and I ask [the Government] to look sympathetically on those who apply for the Covid-19 payment.”

EU to take ‘several new measures’ to support farmers

In related news, the European Commission President confirmed today, Monday, April 6, that the commission will increase advances of direct payments and “simplify certain administrative requirements for farmers” as part of new measures to support EU food production.

In a statement today, Monday, April 6, the President von der Leyen said: “The fight against the coronavirus affects all parts of the European economy. One of the sectors where we will tolerate no disruption whatsoever is that of food.”