19 January 2017
By Bryan T. Smyth
Cork South West TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that while she accepts that the Minister for Agriculture cannot control the weather, he can support tillage farmers with financial compensation as a result of harvest destroyed by adverse weather.
“Fianna Fáil brought the tillage crisis front and centre in Dáil Éireann with its Private Members Motion.
“For too long, farm families, and the challenges they face, were ignored by the political system. My party’s motion has finally shone the light on the severe pressure farmers, and their families, are under.
“The offer of a low-interest loan scheme to farmers, made by Fine Gael, to tillage farms struggling financially is a kick in the teeth.
“Where does the Minister for Agriculture think these farmers will get the money to pay back these loans when their harvests have been destroyed?
“He is clearly in a living in a bubble if he thinks that a loan is what is required. They need compensation, and they need it now.
“A decision to offer compensation is in the hands of the Government. Minister Creed, and others, has attempted to blame European bureaucracy and rules for its failure to support farmers.
“The total cost of a tillage compensation scheme would be in the region of €4.5 million. Compared to the €86 million underspend last year in the Department of Agriculture’s budget, it’s a drop in the ocean but would mean so much to farmers in West Cork who are fearful for their futures.
“With crashing prices over the last 18 months, harvests destroyed by sea salt and increased rainfall, the Government need to deliver for Cork tillage farmers. Fianna Fáil will not stop highlighting this issue, and will continue to fight for fair compensation for farmers affected,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.