Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has described ‘the failure’ of the Minister for Agriculture to secure government co-financing support to EU agriculture funding as ‘shameful’.
While Ireland received €15.8 million from the European Crisis Reserve (ECR) the European Commission gave member states significant flexibility to increase supports to farmers by up to 200% through direct exchequer funding, potentially unlocking a further €31.6 million in supports for Irish farmers. But, in a response to a Parliamentary Question Minister McConalogue has now confirmed to Deputy Carthy that government will not be utilising this provision.
Teachta Carthy said:
“The Minister for Agriculture has now confirmed, for the first time, that he will not be utilising the co-financing mechanism to provide additional financial supports to farmers through the European Crisis Reserve.
“Considering the enormous pressures that many family farmers are facing, particularly with rising input costs, this position is shameful and unforgivable. It appears that government have not yet learned that increased costs for farmers results in increased grocery prices for consumers. Their inaction will worsen the cost-of-living crisis.
“In agriculture, as with so many other areas, government have continually acted too slowly and in a minimalistic manner. We know that farmers within the pig, tillage and livestock sectors are crying out for support. The EU provided for government intervention to provide further supports. Minister McConalogue has now confirmed that he will not utilise this provision.
“Sinn Féin will be demanding a rethink of this position. Often, government cite EU rules, as reason not to intervene in the cost-of-living crisis. In this instance the EU has provided for government to support struggling farmers to the tune of €31.6million. That they have choose not to will not be forgotten by farmers or the rural communities that depend on them.”
NOTE TO EDITORS: The Parliamentary Question is available below.______________________________________________
For Written Answer on : 14/06/2022
Question Number(s): 1946 Question Reference(s): 29032/22
Department: Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Asked by: Matt Carthy T.D.
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 730 of 24 May 2022, if he intends to avail of the co-financing mechanism of the European Crisis Reserve; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
On 23rd March, the EU Commission announced the adoption of exceptional adjustment aid to producers in agricultural sectors which have been impacted by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. The aid provided for was granted as a measure supporting agricultural markets following the transfer of funds from the reserve for crisis in the agricultural sector.
The exceptional aid allocation to Ireland was €15.8 million in EU funding and there are detailed requirements and conditionality attached to this allocation; set out in Commission Delegated Regulation 2022/467 of 23rd March 2022.
On 6th June, I announced the opening of the Horticulture Exceptional Payment Scheme. Support is being provided to the critically important Irish horticulture sector, with an aid package of €2.8m for eligible growers. On 13th June, I announced the opening of applications for the Pig Exceptional Payment Scheme 2 (PEPS2). A total fund of €13 million is being made available for this voluntary scheme for pig farmers, to support the viability of this important sector. These scheme are funded from Ireland’s EU funds allocation for exceptional adjustment aid to producers in agricultural sectors which have been impacted by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Exchequer funding will not be used to co-finance the exceptional aid measure. Ireland will instead provide exchequer funding separate to Commission Delegated Regulation 2022/467 to other sectors in the context of the illegal invasion of Ukraine. In addition to the use of the EU exceptional aid provision, and in acknowledgement of the need to address the multiple impacts of the illegal invasion in Ukraine on food supply chains and food security, significant funding has already been allocated towards Exchequer funded measures including a targeted intervention package for the tillage sector, and the Pig Exceptional Payment Scheme.