26 April 2023
By Tom Collins
The government needs to take the issues facing rural Ireland seriously and provide sufficient and sustainable funding to help farmers overcome the climate crisis, according to Social Democrats leader Holly Cairns.
Deputy Cairns was commenting after meeting members of Macra na Feirme, who gathered at the Dáil to raise the concerns of young farmers.
“Members of Macra na Feirme marched to the Dáil overnight to raise their concerns about the future of rural Ireland – and the future for young farmers.
“I am a former member of Macra myself and I share many of their concerns.
“Young farmers are an endangered species. There are many issues that need urgent action.
“There is a chronic shortage of affordable housing; a lack of access to healthcare services and an almost complete absence of reliable public transport options. We also know that generational renewal is an enormous issue.
“The viability of many farms is under huge threat. We know that climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face as a society.
“We also know that that farmers, and rural communities, will be among those most impacted by the damage caused by the climate crisis.
“Despite this, the supports provided to farmers, to help them withstand this existential threat, are completely inadequate. The supports that do exist are piecemeal, short-term, threadbare and difficult to access.
“It is time the government started taking the issues facing rural Ireland seriously. We have a limited amount of time to act.”