Sinn Féin spokesperson for Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on the Minister for Agriculture to bring forward a solution for the group known as ‘Forgotten Farmers’ without delay.
Teachta Kerrane has repeatedly urged Minister McConalogue to set out details of his Department’s proposed scheme for Forgotten Farmers.
The proposal has been long-awaited, with no update on its development since May.
Sinn Féin included a proposal in the party’s Alternative Budget 2024, to compensate the Forgotten Farmers, with a 50% restoration this year, prioritising these farmers.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“The Forgotten Farmers have waited far too long.
“I have raised this matter several times with Minister McConalogue, and each time he has made assurances that a proposal for the group known as ‘Forgotten Farmers’ is imminent.
“Yet, there has been no update on this important proposal since the start of this year, and the Government made no reference to funding for such a proposal in their Budget 2024 announcement earlier this month.
“Considering the Minister previously indicated that proposals would be made public in the first quarter of this year, and again promised he would follow up with his Department in May, it is really disappointing that nothing has been announced.
“I understand this is a complex issue and it is essential the Department get the details of the scheme right. Setting out the eligibility requirements and getting them right is critical.
“However, these farmers have waited far too long for a solution. They are still waiting and it appears they may have to wait even longer given there has been no update on the proposed scheme or allocation in Budget 2024.
“As I have said before, these are farmers who have already lost out financially and have been left in limbo for years. They have been put in a really vulnerable and unfair position and should not have to wait any longer.
“Just last week, the European Parliament called for additional funding supports for young farmers. It is clear that adequate supports are needed to remove barriers to new entrants and young farmers.
“Ensuring generational renewal means that supports must be available to assist new entrants and young farmers with both getting into and staying in farming.
“That is why Sinn Féin included a proposal to provide compensation for the ‘Forgotten Farmers’ in our Alternative Budget in recent years. We recognise a scheme is needed for these Farmers, and it is needed now.
“Details of the proposed scheme must now be provided without delay, and I have submitted a further query to the Minister to find out when that can be expected.”