Government failing farmers during Coronavirus Emergency – Matt Carthy TD
The government is failing farmers during the Coronavirus crisis, according to Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy. He described the measures produced at domestic and EU level as ‘pathetic’ and ‘far short of the robust financial package required to protect Irish Family Farmers during the Coronavirus emergency’.
Deputy Carthy said:
“Many Irish farmers, most of whom were in difficult circumstances before the Coronavirus emergency emerged, have been left dumbfounded by the pathetic nature of the so-called supports put in place thus far. They were stunned with the inadequacy of the €76million EU package and they were shocked that an Irish Minister for Agriculture would welcome it.
“It is clear that the EU will not provide the level of assistance that Irish Family Farmers need at this time. Therefore, the Irish government needs to introduce an emergency financial package for our family farmers at a domestic level. It should include the distribution to family farmers of all unspent funds from the BEAM scheme and all other underspent resources within the Department of Agriculture. But, crucially it will require new funding.
“Such an emergency package must be directed at those farmers who need it most, particularly in the beef and sheep sectors, and it must be a simple, unbureaucratic scheme that puts monies into the hands of our family farmers who need it if they are to survive this crisis.
“This emergency has shown how important our family farmers are – to our economy and to our communities. We have a huge advantage in that we can produce more food on this island than we can consume. That is an advantage that our farmers should be benefiting from. Rural economies will not survive if our farmers don’t.
“This is not a time for excuses or complications. This is a time to support our family-farmers who, just as they were after the financial crash, will be pivotal in any recovery we experience after the Covid-19 crisis. They will not be able to play that role if they don’t get government assistance in the immediate future.”