FIANNA Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Michael Moynihan has hit out the Government’s lack of support for farmers who are under severe pressure due the unseasonably wet weather.
Deputy Moynihan has described the response from the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney as ‘shamefully inadequate’.
“It is time for Minister Coveney to start taking this very real problem seriously,” said Deputy Moynihan. “I am appalled at the lack of any meaningful action from the Minister to address the severe impact on farmers of the exceptional rainfall we are currently experiencing.
“It is estimated that this weather will cost the farming sector around €100 million. And yet, the only response we have had from Minister Coveney is an advancement of the Single Farm Payment to October. There is absolutely nothing new in this; the Single Farm Payment has always issued at this time since its introduction. It will also do little support farmers through these exceptional difficulties.
“What we need from the Minister is a guarantee that all non-essential on-farm inspections will be postponed until after the weather settles down. The farming community is under enough pressure without the added pressures of inspections for REPS, AEOS and environmental standards.
“The Minister also needs to recognise that calendar farming is not realistic in the context of the erratic weather conditions we have experienced over the past 12 months. I am also calling on Minister Coveney to consider lifting restrictions and extending the deadlines on farming activities.
“We cannot continue to accept a situation where such a valuable sector of our economy is severely hampered by conditions that are out of their control. Farmers need to see some flexibility from the Agriculture Minister to help them stay afloat during this difficult time.”