Taoiseach Simon Harris has said that he wants to see the tillage sector expanding, despite weather challenges this year.

The Taoiseach spoke at the European People’s Party (EPP) conference in Co. Carlow today (Friday, April 19).

The Taoiseach said that the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue has already introduced measures relating to ongoing wet field conditions and is trying to keep the pressure off farmers in terms of reducing on-farm inspections.

He said that he plans on liaising with Minister McConalogue over the next few days in relation to further support.

The Taoiseach added that Minister McConalogue will finalise arrangements to further aid the sector this year.

Harris told conference members that he is aware that so far this year, it has been “brutal” for farmers.

“The weather has posed an incredible degree of challenge, pain, mental health pressures, stress, and anxiety.

“I know it very much feels like a salvage mission and I can only imagine how hard that is psychologically,” Harris said.

“From meeting with farmers in recent weeks and today, it’s very clear that we need to act,” he added.

Taoiseach Simon Harris sits down with IFA members

He said that the knock on effects of planting in the tillage sector are already facing “real consequences”.

“When any one sector, especially one that is so fundamentally important to the Irish economy comes up against tough times, it is our job as a government not just to give you words of comfort.

“It is my job as leader of the government to help and I want to ensure you that’s what we intend to do,” the Taoiseach said.