Government called on to ‘focus on issues facing family farms’

It is time for the government to “focus on the business of legislating, and particularly addressing the very real and big concerns affecting Irish family farmers”, according to Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson Matt Carthy.

Commenting following a chaotic week in Irish politics, deputy Carthy said:

“The distractions of government formation and the subsequent controversy surrounding Barry Cowen has meant that there has been a lack of focus for several months on the very real challenges facing Irish farmers.

“These cannot be allowed to distract from the work at hand.

For example, Irish agriculture is facing unprecedented challenges over the coming months from the prospect of a Brexit fallout, the ongoing coronavirus implications, impending EU trade deals such as with the Mercosur bloc and upcoming CAP [Common Agricultural Policy] negotiations.

“We need government’s attention to be focused on delivering in these areas and on other policies that protect families and workers during these turbulent times.”

Congratulating Minister Dara Calleary on his appointment, deputy Carthy said:

“I hope that he will be willing to engage with me as lead opposition spokesperson on agriculture to deliver solutions to the concerns of Irish family farmers.

Our family farmers need to see policies and measures that will deliver fair prices, a fair CAP and fair play.

Stating that Sinn Féin will “engage constructively” with government to provide the legislative proposals in this area, the agriculture spokesperson concluded, noting:

“The new minister and the government now need to move beyond the distractions and focus on those issues that matter to our farming families.”