Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy TD, has said that the government’s Budget has delivered virtually nothing for family farmers.
Teachta Carthy said:
“Irish family farmers needed Budget 2022 to offer a signal that government recognised the considerable challenges that they face.
“Instead they learned that for this government it’s more of the same with virtually no new supports to help our farming families meet rising environmental obligations or facedown market pressures.
“Our farming communities are asking for fair play – that means that they need a fair CAP and they need fair prices for their produce.
“They need government to listen – but when it comes to our family farmers and the rural communities that depend on them, this government has shown that they are tone deaf.
“What we saw in Budget 2022 for agriculture measures is an accounting exercise, a simple rollover of existing schemes; and with minimalistic measures that will not come close to meeting the needs of a sector in crisis.
“Sinn Féin’s Budget 2022 proposals would have resulted in an increased spend of almost €220 million within the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, a 12% increase – the government provided a measly 1% increase.
“Crucially, Sinn Féin’s proposals would have benefited our family farmers that need the most support, they would have benefited the rural communities who depend on those farmers and they would have benefited the environment. The government’s proposals will do none of those things.
“Our commitments to a suckler payment of up to €300 per cow; to a €20 per ewe sheep welfare scheme; a €5 million support package for wool producers; a €25million increase for farmers operating in Areas of Natural Constraint and increased disregards for Farm Assist recipients – would help smaller and poorer farmers in a meaningful way.
“On the other hand, government have provided no new supports for suckler farmers, for sheep farmers, for ANC farmers or Farm Assist recipients.
“Rather than lecture farmers and rural communities about Climate Action and penalise them through carbon taxes and counter-productive policies, Sinn Féin proposed measures that would help farmers to play a positive role in reducing emissions and making necessary changes. This would involve substantial investment in organics and facilitating new farmers in agri-environmental programmes.
“Again, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, and the Green Party did nothing in these areas. Like other workers and families the only difference that Budget 2022 will bring for farmers is that their fuel and heating costs will rise again. But, the decision by government to hike the carbon tax will place an additional burden on farmers because it will also drive the prices of almost all inputs up further.
“All in all, Irish family farmers will be worse off as a result of this budget.”