Sinn Féin’s commitment to Family Farmers is ‘unwavering’ – Matt Carthy
Marylou joins Cavan/Monaghan candidates at Kilnaleck meeting with farmers
“Sinn Féin will be unwavering in our commitment to Family Farming in Ireland” general election candidate, Matt Carthy, declared this week.
He was speaking following an event held in Kilnaleck, Co. Cavan on Sunday where farmers from Cavan and Monaghan had an opportunity to outline their concerns and ideas to the Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald and the party’s general election candidates Pauline Tully and Mr Carthy. The event was organised by Sinn Féin to hear first-hand about the issues facing the local farming communities and to discuss the party’s solutions to the problems facing rural Ireland.
Speaking after the meeting, which took place at Kilnaleck Hall, Ms Tully said the event had been ‘really successful and engaging’. She said: “We listened carefully to the concerns of farmers in this area. Of particular concern, of course, were beef prices and the lack of interested by the Competition Authority in Meat Industry Ireland.
“Mary Lou, Matt and myself were among the first to stand alongside farmers at the picket lines during the Beef Plan protests and farmers in Cavan and Monaghan were left in no doubt after this meeting that Sinn Féin will continue to stand with them and support them as they battle for fairness”.
The Sinn Féin president said she outlined that the core of Sinn Féin’s farm policies amounted to the pursuit of ‘the three Fs’ – “a fair price for produce, a fair CAP system that works for ordinary farmers and fair play for farmers and rural communities, including in their dealings with the Department of Agriculture”.
Ms McDonald said: “In government, Sinn Féin will immediately establish a commission on the future of the Irish family farm which would be made up of independent experts, farming representatives and statutory agencies.
“This commission will be tasked with producing a comprehensive set of proposals to save our family farm network which will be implemented by a Sinn Féin minister for agriculture”.
Speaking afterwards Matt Carthy said that his experience on the European Parliament’s Agriculture & Rural Development committee provided him with an insight that would allow him to be an effective voice for Monaghan farmers in the Dáil. He said that, throughout his time as a MEP, he had continued to liaise with the farming community at home and that this gave him a grounding in the realities of life for farm families.
He said that the Sinn Féin proposal to establish a Commission on the Future of the Family Farm was evidence that his party was committed to that most central facet of rural life.
“The family farm is the bedrock of our rural communities” he said. “While previous commissions have examined food production, as in the quantities, there has been little consideration of who should actually be producing it to the greatest quality which is clearly the family farmer. A commission that is tasked with examining how we save the family farm that is complimented by a government committed to implementing its recommendations will mark a sea-change.
“Sinn Féin will be unwavering in our support for our family farm. We will tackle the strangle-hold of the processors and retailers to ensure that farmers receive a fair price for their product. We will work hard to protect the CAP budget and ensure a fairer distribution of funds away from the large corporates to deliver greater payments to the majority of family farms. And we will ensure fair play for farmers their dealings with the Department of Agriculture, we will oppose trade deals such as Mercosur and we will work for a just transition to protect farmers while doing what it necessary to address the climate crisis”.
Concluding, Carthy said that the type of engagement organised on Sunday, will be a regular occurrence following the general election. He said: “What marks Sinn Féin out from the other parties is that we listen and engage with those we represent outside of election time. Should Pauline Tully and I secure election to the Dáil we will absolutely ensure that the voices of farmers from Cavan and Monaghan are heard through the corridors of power. Farmers now have a real chance to vote for change – I am asking them to take that chance”.