‘Time to deal with forgotten farmers issue once and for all’

The Forgotten farmer issue has been going on for the past three or four years and it is time to deal with it now once and for all, Independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice has said.

Forgotten farmers are those who are less than 40 years of age who have been farming for five years or more and do not qualify for key young farmer supports under the latest CAP reform.

Fitzmaurice has said that the forgotten farmer issue has been totally ignored by the Government, Fianna Fail and the main farming organisations.

“Despite many great speeches on the matter from various quarters nothing has been done and it is time for action on this important issue.”

There is a clear commitment on this issue in the Programme for Government yet here we are just four months away from the applications for the Single Farm Payment and there has been no announcement from the Minister [for Agriculture] on this issue.”

In the Programme for Government, the Government said that it would seek recognition from the EU Commission for forgotten farmers as a group with specific disadvantage under the National Reserve.

“It is essential that Sinn Fein, Fianna Fail, and the other Independent groups and TD’s tackle Fine Gael on this.

“Are we witnessing the same carry on here as we have seen with grain farmers where there is a nod and a wink and nothing happening?

“It is impossible to be playing for both teams in the same match and that’s what Fianna Fail are doing at the moment.”

Fitzmaurice said that they are trying to be in opposition and be in Government at the same time and if they are going to continue to support this Government they need but put their foot down and demand action on this issue.

“I would also like to see funding secured for new young farmers coming into the business as well,” he said.