‘Decision to rule out crisis funding for tillage farmers hugely disappointing’

The Government’s decision to rule out crisis funding for tillage farmers is hugely disappointing, according to Fianna Fáil’s Charlie McConalogue.

The Fianna Fail Agriculture Spokesperson raised the issue with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed in the Dail earlier this week.

However, the Minister said there is no shortage of people asking for help and the State has to be realistic about what it can afford.

I appreciate the difficulties that are being faced in this sector. I do not believe the response to the myriad of issues being faced in the sector has been bad.

“While these are very challenging times for the tillage sector, I emphasise that we have implemented some measures,” Minister Creed said.

The Minister’s comments will give very little satisfaction to tillage farmers who have seen their land and crops destroyed by recent severe weather, McConalogue said.

“Tillage farmers will feel especially let down by the Government, which has done nothing to support them during this difficult period”, he said.

Fianna Fáil has consistently called for the establishment of a crisis fund and they will continue to push for one to be created, he said.

“We will continue to campaign on this, especially given the precedent which was set by my colleague Brendan Smith when he served as Minister in 2010, to establish the Aid Scheme for Potato and Vegetable Crops damaged by frost.

This Government is continuing to drag its heels when it comes to protecting farming families facing price volatility.

“This is particularly worrying in the context of the recent severe weather and the fallout from Brexit,” he said.

Tillage farmers have been worst hit by this summer’s torrential downpours and McConalogue believes the Government has done very little to support them.

Despite a commitment from the Minister to open a tillage TAMS scheme this autumn, it’s now emerged that farmers will have to wait until 2017 before the scheme will take applications, he said.