‘Farmers deserve better than all the avoidance of issues in their sector’ – McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said that “farmers deserve better than all the avoidance of issues in their sector”.

Deputy McGrath has expressed his concern that the wrong issues are currently under public scrutiny.

“With every problem with the Programme for Government, it is pointless that people are concerned with issues about [Minister Barry] Cowen’s life and the offence from four years ago,” he said.

“I refuse to take away my own attention from the needs of farmers.

All that is troubling me is the discriminatory manner of the government towards farmers… Rather than thinking about a minister’s private life…there is a lot more to be worried about.

Speaking about the recent reports about Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Barry Cowen’s disqualification from driving in 2016, he added: “Does anyone actually really care about it? If so, why?”

Deputy McGrath’s highlighted the “discriminatory” Fair Deal Scheme as a major priority.

“The farmer always comes last despite putting the country ahead of themselves all their lives. It has been two very long years of empty promises and unfortunately, there could be more to come.”

‘Everything doesn’t need to be so hard for farmers’

Also of concern for Deputy McGrath is the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS) type scheme that has been proposed; however, he said that there is “such a lack of detail or explanation that it is impossible to even make sense of it”.

“An overhaul of the former scheme is obviously badly needed, as it had too much paperwork, bureaucracy and red-tape and it needs to be made more accessible. Everything doesn’t need to be so hard for farmers.

“There is constant worry about how everyone feels about something and how they might react, except how farmers themselves feel about something,” McGrath concluded.