‘Government should match new EU funding for farmers’

The Government should consider providing matching funds to supplement a new EU deal worth €11.1 million to Irish farmers, according to Fine Gael Carlow/Kilkenny TD, and Chair of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee, Pat Deering.

A new aid package for the EU agriculture sector, with particular emphasis on the dairy sector, was agreed this week.

Ireland is to receive €11.1m in the package, which according to Deering is “great news” for Irish farmers.

“I firmly believe that the Government should now provide matching funding to supplement this deal, in much the same way as we did last year when the Government matched the EU’s allocation of approximately €13m in emergency funding for dairy farmers.

“Dealing with price volatility is a major priority for the Government and it has been a difficult time in this regard for farmers, particular dairy farmers.

“Increasing this European Commission aid through matching funds, will expand its reach and help a lot more farmers than initially envisaged. I will be bringing this proposal to the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, in the hope of a positive outcome that will allow us to assist as many farmers as possible,” Deering said.

Any decision by the by the Government of co-finance the package will need to receive approval from both the Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan and the Minister for Public Expenditure, Pascal Donohue.

Securing additional funds for the agriculture sector from the National Exchequer is likely to prove difficult which the Government already committed to a €25m scheme for the sheep sector and a further increase to payments under the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme.