‘Tillage farmers are on their knees with the Government nowhere to be seen’
Tillage farming families are fed up with the Government not delivering a fair compensation package, according to Cork South West TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony.
The Fianna Fail TD believes it is time that Government TDs began to deliver support to tillage farmers rather than just talking the talk.
“2016 was one of the worst years for tillage farmers in Ireland. Historically low prices have been exacerbated by severe bad weather in autumn that ruined the harvest.
The net result is that tillage farmers are on their knees, and the Government is nowhere to be seen.
Government TDs across Cork have been meeting with local farmers’ organisations claiming to be on their side, Murphy O’Mahony said.
At the end of the day they are the ones who can directly intervene with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which is something they have failed to do, she added.
“When Fianna Fail was last in Government, our Minister for Agriculture, Brendan Smith intervened to ensure that potato and vegetable farmers received compensation when their harvests were damaged from frost.
“Offering farmers who are on their knees loans instead of compensation is typical of Fine Gael. They just don’t understand what is happening on small farms across Ireland.
Banks won’t give them a loan as their credit rating is so low, and let’s be honest, without their 2016 harvest, they won’t have the money to repay the loan.
The Cork South West TD has urged Fine Gael TDs to pick up the phone to the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, and impress upon him the need for a compensation package to be made available to tillage farmers.
At a meeting in Brussels with EU Commissioner Phil Hogan’s Directorate, the Fianna Fail Agriculture team were informed that there are no barriers in principle, at EU level, to the Government initiating a compensation scheme, she said.
“We are absolutely clear on the need for this, and will continue to raise it in the Dáil and at any other appropriate forum.
“However, Fine Gael TDs need to use the position they are in, and lobby their Minister to ensure compensation is paid out,” Murphy O’Mahony said.