Dail hears issues over proposed tillage crisis fund

A number of TDs have reportedly raised the issue of payments under the proposed tillage crisis fund in the Dail today, July 6.

Concerns were raised during the question section relating to promised legislation by Independent TD for Cork South-West, Michael Collins.

He said: “On page 113 of the programme for government, I will raise the issue – which I and many other deputies here have often done – of tillage farmers who suffered huge losses to their crops in the harvest of 2016.

Some of them also suffered salt damage to their crops in late 2015 and the early spring. These farmers have been waiting almost 12 months for compensation.

“Can the Taoiseach announce any compensation package? Will it take into account that some of these farmers have lost up to €60,000?

“One must also remember these were being guided towards cheap finance up to now. Many of these farmers did not get the cheap finance,” Collins said.

Unfortunately, the farmers who got the cheap finance were those who were not in financial difficulty and those who were in financial difficulty have not got the cheap finance today, he added.

‘Farmers correct to protest’

Meanwhile, Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway, Michael Fitzmaurice, said farmers were correct to protest at the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine until they get satisfactory answers.

He called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to make an immediate statement on the details of the potential tillage crisis fund, amid rumours that a limit of €5,000 per farmer is set to be announced.

I support the farmers who protested overnight at the offices of the Department of Agriculture and unless this matter is solved to the satisfaction of farmers, I would support more protests.

“This compensation scheme has already been held up for months and we were told in recent weeks that there would be a payout limit of €15,000 per farmer – which would not have been enough to compensate some farmers whose crops were ruined.

“But now a suggestion of a limit of €5,000 is totally unacceptable and a derisory amount in many cases.

“There are mills and suppliers who are looking for payments from affected farmers and this matter will have to be cleared up immediately,” Fitzmaurice said.

Tillage farmers affected by this crisis have been treated very poorly by the government, he concluded.