THE Government has rejected outright proposals from Fianna Fáil to ease the pressure on farmers during the exceptionally wet weather.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Michael Moynihan raised the matter on Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today, calling for a suspension of non-essential on-farm inspections until the extremely wet weather eases.
Questioning the Tánaiste Éamon Gilmore, Deputy Moynihan said, “Farmers and agricultural contractors all over Ireland are extremely worried about their livelihoods as a result of the persistent bad weather. Silage is not cut, cattle can’t graze, production costs have increased, milk production has dramatically dropped, and potato / protected crops have all been affected. In addition beef prices have been pulled by the factories.
“June was our wettest on record and will cost the farming community alone over €160 million. The weather is still extremely bad and is crippling farmers’ ability to make a decent living. It took farmers 3 years to trade out of the very bad summer in 2009.
“The response from the government so far is startling and shamefully inadequate. The only response from Minister Coveney has been to ‘bring forward’ the Single Farm Payment to October. As all Deputies know, the first traunch of the Single Farm Payment has been paid in October for the last 7 years.
“The government needs to take a more proactive role and create more practical supports for farmers who are struggling. The Minister must meet the suppliers and merchants and demand more flexibility given the challenges of this disastrous weather. Also the farming by calendar year must be urgently reviewed.”
In response, the Tánaiste rejected Deputy Moynihan’s request to halt all single farm payment and cross compliance inspections, bar emergency inspections.
Speaking afterwards, Deputy Moynihan said, “That the Tánaiste would reject these sensible and cost neutral proposals outright, without even considering them, is a disgrace. All we are looking for is some flexibility from the Government to help farmers through this difficult period.”