February 28, 2022
MacManus visits Mountbellew agricultural college

MacManus visits Mountbellew agricultural college
 
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus paid a visit to Mountbellew Agricultural College in Co. Galway recently. MacManus met with Principal Edna Curley to discuss the issues facing young farmers. Speaking after the visit MacManus commented:
 
“Firstly, I recognise the important work carried out by Ireland’s agricultural colleges. Passing down traditional practices is important but I also know our young people want to be at the forefront of innovation in the Agri-sector, and here they can receive comprehensive instruction on techniques and management.”
 
“Since we always speak about the family farm, it can sometimes be forgotten that farms are businesses that must be ran efficiently and be profitable. Taking over a farm is a huge responsibility on their shoulders and they need all the support available. I deeply admire their sense of commitment. That commitment must be rewarded.”
 
“Some of the major issues I can see are access to credit, debt, mental health and the full time vs part time divide.”
 
“Young farmers do need access to credit and as much support as possible to manage their debt levels. Particularly in the dairy sector, the level of investment required to get to scale is in the hundreds of thousands.”
 
“Taking on such big debts coupled with a difficulty in achieving a good work life balance can take its toll on peoples mental health.”
 
MacManus concluded, “Finally, it is important to put on the record that I disagreed with the mixed messages that have been sent by the Irish Government, concerning the future of full time farmers.”
 
“Sinn Féin believes we should be tackling farm viability in order to guarantee young farmers can have a fair standard of living from full time farming, and this is not just for dairy farmers but also beef.”
 
“It is important to remember that many farmers with off farm income, who some  assume are part time farmers, are actually putting in 40 hours plus to the farm, but still can’t make ends meet without an additional income source.” ENDS
 
Pictured at Mountbellew Ag College (L-R): Cllr Dermot Connolly, Chris MacManus MEP
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