Government programme on Agriculture and Rural Development is ‘pathetic and insulting’ –
Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has described the Programme for Government as a terrible deal for rural communities and family farmers. He said that the section of the programme which deals with Regional Development and Agriculture is ‘pathetic and insulting’.
Deputy Carthy said:
“This is a terrible deal for rural communities and our farming families. What is required is a commitment to substantially invest in the regions and to address the wholescale inequalities in Irish farming. Instead this document offers reviews and examinations with very little substance.
“The first line in the subsection on Balanced Regional Development actually reads: “regional development is critical to reduce pressure on the Greater Dublin area.” This crystallises the emphasis of these three parties for our rural communities.
“On Agriculture the programme commits the government to ‘contribute more to the overall EU budget, if it is spent on measures that advance the European ideal’ but it does not commit to rejecting any budget that does not realise a CAP increase.
“It proffers supports to the various sectors while providing very few specifics and delivers nothing concrete that would benefit family farmers over and above corporate players. In many areas it is actually pathetic in its lack of detail.
“Rural Ireland might be greener as a result of this deal, but that will be because there’ll be less people living there.
“Many farmers will be interested to hear of a new REPS scheme but, again, very little detail is provided. Ironically the REPS scheme is to be funded with part of the carbon tax hikes that will disproportionally affect rural dwellers.
“Bizarrely, on the EU-Mercosur Trade Deal, the programme says the government will ‘carry out economic and sustainability assessment’ despite the fact that Fianna Fáil & the Greens previously argued that it was a bad deal in economic and sustainability terms – they were right then but clearly are laying the ground for a sell-out on this issue.
“There is a particularly pathetic section entitled ‘Young People and Rural Ireland’ that offers nothing new of substance except the establishment of a network of ‘teen sheds similar to men’s sheds’. It is insulting and patronising in the extreme.
“Rural Ireland and our family farmers needed change. They voted for change. This programme does that provide that. Sinn Féin will continue to champion for investment in our rural communities and our family farm network throughout the lifetime of this Dáil.”