Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture Matt Carthy TD has welcomed the proposed allocation from the Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) to the seed potato sector saying that it must represent just the first tranche of BAR funding to farmers.
Teachta Carthy said:
“I welcome the proposal that €3million will be allocated from Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) fund to the Irish Seed Potato sector. I have been pressing the Agriculture Minister to support this sector since last year and I had requested that the BAR be utilised for this purpose considering the impact that Brexit has had on the sector.
“Irish growers have relied heavily on the importation of seed potato from Scotland. Brexit has severely disrupted this supply so it stands to reason that the BAR would be used to assist develop the sector domestically and help make Ireland more self-sufficient in seed potato.
“The decision to support this sector should now be followed by funding provision to other sectors impacted by Brexit.
“That Ireland received almost 25% of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve was due largely to the understanding in Europe of the threat that Brexit was and remains to our farming and fishing communities.
“However, up until his point, farmers had not received a single euro from the fund, although bizarrely €100 million was secured for food processors.
“In my correspondence with Minister McConalogue in respect of the Brexit Adjustment Reserve I had sought supports for the domestic seed potato sector. I welcome that there is now a proposal in that regard.
“However, the delivery of this €1 billion fund to date has been abysmally slow. It must now be further utilised to support the pig, beef and horticultural sectors from negative impacts associated with Brexit.
“The impact of Brexit alongside the spiralling costs of inputs such as fuel, feed and fertiliser mean that farmers need immediate supports. The BAR is a mechanism that can provide some assistance as should the European Crisis Reserve but the Minister has yet to commit to maximum co-financing in respect of the latter. There must be greater urgency on all potential support schemes for our family farmers.”