€27,000 difference in farm incomes between west and the rest of the country
Farm incomes in counties in the west are over €27,000 lower than those in counties in Munster and Leinster, figures from the Revenue show.
A report on the farming sector for 2014 by the Revenue, published in July of this year, found that the average income for farmers in Leitrim was €10,823 compared to the average income for farmers in Waterford which was €38,115.
The average farm incomes in the five Connacht counties was €12,386 in 2014, while farmers in Donegal had an average farm income of €12,157, in line with farmers in Connacht.
Farmers in Galway have the highest incomes in the region with the average income standing at €14,857, while farmers in Leitrim have the lowest average income, at €10,823.
These figures are lower by €17,000 compared to the average income in Leinster, which stands at €27,729.
Farmers in Longford and Westmeath had the lowest incomes in Leinster, with farmers receiving on average €17,598 and €21,732.
Meanwhile in Munster, the average farm income in 2014 for farmers in the region was €27,918, according to the Revenue figures.
Waterford farmers received the highest farm incomes at €38,115 followed by farmers in Cork and Tipperary with incomes averaging at €32,398 and €32,263.
Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway, Michael Fitzmaurice, has said that it comes as no surprise that farm incomes in the west of Ireland are up to 70% lower than those in the rest of the country.
“We are dealing with family farms here in the West and the emphasis over the last number of years from successive Governments and from farm organisations has titled the balance, especially in CAP, towards the larger farming operation.
“I have always maintained that if we want to rebuild rural Ireland one major part of that rebuilding is to protect family farm income,” he said.
Fitzmaurice called on Minister Creed to address this situation and ensure that the CAP payments system is tilted back in favour of the area from Donegal down to Clare.
“We must realise that 85% of all suckler cattle in the country are based in the west and north west.
“If this trend in farm incomes that we are reading about this week continues young people in the west of Ireland will not want to become involved in farming.
“I have always said that the policy successive Governments here and the EU will eventually make a theme park out of the west of Ireland.
“There should now be a focus that family farms get priority and are preserved. If family farms are viable then the local shop and the local school and the local community will all survive,” he said.