Fianna Fail calls for establishment of tillage crisis fund

Fianna Fail Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue has called on the Irish government to establish a crisis fund for tillage farmers.

Cereal growers are under severe financial pressure at the present time and this reality must be recognised by government immediately, he said.

“It’s too early to say how much money will be required to meet the needs of affected farmers. But it must be large enough to make a real difference for growers.”

Tillage farmers are not eligible to benefit from the EU exceptional aid package and McConalogue said that due to the scheme being restricted to livestock farmers, the government must establish a separate support fund for the tillage sector.

McConalogue also called on the Government to opt for the national top-up that can be made available under the terms of the exceptional aid package.

“This will double the €11m that is currently on-offer from Brussels and this money should be made available to farmers across all the livestock sectors, including dairy, beef, sheep and pigs.”

McConalogue criticised the Government for its management of both GLAS and the Beef Data and Genomics Programme.

“There is scope to fund up to 40,000 applicants under the genomics measure. But so far only 25,000 farmers have applied,” he said.

“The potential for GLAS is in the region of 60,000 applications, yet only 38,000 farmers have applied to date. The net shortfall within both schemes represents a major funding deficit for our rural areas.

“Minister Creed must re-open the genomics programme immediately and ensure that payments for all the current schemes arrive with farmers as quickly as possible.”

McConalogue also confirmed Fianna Fail’s commitment to Ireland’s farming and food sectors.

“Together, they constitute the largest indigenous sector within the Irish economy, employing some 300,000 people,” he said.