Claim €15m Government promise for Island farming is ‘a rehash’ of a previous investment

A €15m fund to assist island farmers has been slammed as ‘ rehash’ of a previous investment by Fianna Fail’s Eamon O’Cuiv.

Under the Programme for Government agreed between Fine Gael and a host of independents €15million will be invested in island communities during the course of the RDP as a special payment to assist island farmers in preserving traditional farming methods and preventing land abandonment.

O Cuiv the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Rural Development, Rural Affairs and the Gaeltacht  slammed the Government for making hollow promises to Island farmers in its Programme for Government.

He said he recently asked the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed whether the money, as outlined on page 114 of the Programme for Government, was being made in addition to the existing island top-up, which is paid out under the Areas of Natural Constraint scheme.

“It’s now emerged that this €15m, which was depicted as new money in the Programme for Government, is in fact a continuation of the previous support being delivered under the Rural Development Plan. The truth of the matter is that no new money is being provided.

“This is a deliberate attempt by the Government to appear as if they have an interest in rural Ireland, when they are failing to invest in essential services and schemes. The promises made in the Programme for Government are beginning to ring hollow with people on the Islands.

“Island communities are in need of investment and the promised €15m would go a long way in assisting island farmers – by helping them preserve traditional farming methods and prevent land abandonment. It is extremely frustrating to learn that yet another commitment is being broken, island farmers are being forgotten and there are no plans to roll out the money which was promised in the Programme for Government,” he said.