European Commissioner Phil Hogan has been accused of doing a U-turn in relation to penalising farmers for poor farm safety records.
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Constituency, Matt Carthy, says that a Parliamentary Question response he has received from the European Commissioner indicates that the Commission does not intend to link farmer’s payments to farm safety measures.
Commissioner Hogan said within the CAP, several measures are set up aiming to improve the working environment, e.g. safety standards, at farm level.
He said this can be done via a wide set of measures within the Rural Development programmes such as the knowledge transfer and information actions or through investment support.
“Furthermore Rural Development allows financing of Farm Advisory Services, which have a key role to play in providing relevant advice regarding occupational safety standards and safety standards linked to the farm, in particular for new entrants,” he said.
Hogan said the Commission deems it sufficient to stimulate the improvement of farm safety via the above mentioned set of support measures.
Carthy said while he has huge concern at the number of farm safety related incidents in Ireland and he is firmly of the view that much more must be done to address this issue in a comprehensive way.
“I am nonetheless pleased by the response received from Commissioner Hogan that indicates that the Commission does not intend to link farmer’s payments to farm safety measures.
“This is despite the fact that remarks made by Phil Hogan earlier this year suggested otherwise and caused significant concern among members of the farming community.
“There can be no doubt that action needs to be taken to ensure that appropriate health and safety procedures are followed to the greatest extent possible on our farms however we need to listen to farmers in this regard.”