Farmers & rural communities will be worse off as a result of government’s budget – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has told the Dáil that the government’s budget, detrimental to all workers and families, will particularly fail farming families.
Teachta Carthy, in his response as his parties Agriculture Spokesperson, said that the decision to increase the carbon tax again will be a huge blow to those who live in rural communities.
“This budget is the product of a Government that is out of touch, out of ideas and, increasingly, running out of road.
“It is bizarre that any government in the current climate would introduce a budget that delivers precisely nothing for renters. The Government did not even pretend to provide renters a break.
“It is also mind-boggling that, in a week when 483 people at one stage were lying on hospital trolleys, the budget failed to provide for a single new acute hospital bed or community bed beyond what had already been committed. There is only €24 million in additional spending for mental health at a time when we face a mental health crisis.
“As for childcare, the Government’s big idea is to cap fees. Seriously? The flagship proposal is to cap the highest childcare costs in Europe, not to reduce them.
“Families and workers are being pushed to the brink.
“Childcare costs represent a second mortgage. There will be no cost reduction for most parents.
“Nothing for renters.
“Energy and fuel costs are going through the roof.
“The Government’s response – you could not make it up – is to increase those costs further by hiking the carbon tax, so the reality is that most workers and families will be actually worse off as a result of this budget. It is some achievement.
“As well as the increases in heating costs, and it should be remembered that energy companies have increased their costs 30 times this year, the price of goods will be increased as fuel costs will be added to those prices.
“This will be a particular blow for our family farmers. They will see the cost of almost all inputs increase as a result of this budget. Farm contractors, who are not exempt from the carbon tax, despite promises from Government parties that they would be, will have no choice but to pass on the increases to hard-pressed farmers.
Nothing for family farmers
“In fact, budget 2022 offers virtually nothing for our family farmers: no support for suckler beef farmers, no additional funding for sheep farmers, no emergency wool package, no additional funding for farmers in areas of natural constraint, a pittance for organics and forestry schemes, and nothing for farm assist.
“Of course, as always, there is an extra €7 million for beef and dairy processors, just nothing at all for the people actually producing the food.
“This Government is completely tone deaf to the needs of our ordinary family farming community. Those farmers will be expected to continue to produce the highest quality food almost anywhere in the world to the highest environmental standards anywhere in the world but they will face increased costs and receive reduced prices in real terms.
“It is an horrendous legacy.
“Despite a lazy narrative, our family farmers are not the enemy of the green agenda, but the Green Party is the enemy of our family farmers. In this budget Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have picked a side and it is not the side of our farming communities.
“Sinn Féin’s budget 2022 proposals would have resulted in an increased spend of almost €220 million within the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, a 12% increase. The Government provided a measly 1%.
“Crucially, Sinn Féin’s proposals would have benefited our family farmers, who need support most. It would have benefited the rural communities that depend on those farmers and benefited the environment. The Government’s proposals do none of those things.
“Our commitments to a suckler farmer of up to €300 per cow and to a €20 per ewe sheep welfare scheme, a €5 million support package for wool producers, a €25 million increase for areas of natural constraint, and increased disregards for farm assist would all help smaller and poorer farmers in a meaningful way.
“Rather than lecture farmers in rural communities about climate action and then penalise them through carbon taxes and counterproductive measures, Sinn Féin proposed measures that would actually help farmers to play a positive role in reducing emissions and making necessary changes. This would involve substantial investment beyond what the Government has provided in organics and facilitating farmers in agri-environmental programmes.
“Instead Ireland, through the Government, has capitulated to an agenda that will see this country import peat from Latvia and wood from Scotland and see Europe import beef from Brazil and milk from New Zealand.
“Farmers will lose out, the rural communities that depend on them will lose out and the environment will suffer. It is an agenda based on tokenism and hypocrisy and it is indefensible.
“Minister McConalogue, is not even here to defend it. He is, I am told, participating in a consultation process that should have taken place a year ago and which he will undoubtedly use to prevent redistributive measures in the next CAP.
“His Ministers of State tried valiantly to put a positive spin on things but, in reality, they both know, as we all know, that this budget will leave family farmers worse off.
“Shame on any Deputy who supports it.”