Lack of measures to address farm income crisis in Budget – McConalogue

 

A Donegal Deputy says while a no deal Brexit Agriculture fund is welcome in Budget 2020 there is a lack of measures to address the farm income crisis.

As part of announcements made yesterday, a specific financial aid €110m will be made available for the agri-sector to cope with the potential impact of Brexit.

However, there's concern that there is no fund to cover beef prices losses suffered by farmers since May.

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Agriculture and Deputy Charlie McConalogue is urging Minister Creed to clarify how much of the fund will be ring fenced for farmers:

“Regrettably, the budget has only modest measures to address the farm income crisis, which is very prevalent in the beef sector. While an additional €20m has been allocated to the Beef Environmental Efficiency Pilot (BEEP) in 2020, farmers will be very sceptical.

“A PQ reply from Minister Creed confirms that no payments have been issued to over 19,000 beef farmers despite a €20m allocation made to the BEEP scheme in last year’s budget. This is very concerning and is another example of the Fine Gael government making an announcement and failing to carry through in the delivery.

“Beef farmers are at their wits end with prices on the floor over the past 12 months. Funds announced today must be delivered rapidly as their income crisis deepens. The Minister must also ensure that the €22m of unused funds under the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM) scheme stays with farmers.

“I will be seeking immediate further clarification from the Minister in the Dáil on the Brexit mitigation funds and will continue to highlight the need for the Government to recognise that immediate income support for farmers is required now. They must work with the European Commission to deliver the additional funds required to address the income crisis currently facing family farms” concluded Deputy McConalogue.