Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on Minister McConalogue to explain to sheep farmers why they are being refused supports under the Brexit Adjustment Fund (BAR).
Minister McConalogue has previously stated that funds could not be drawn from the BAR to provide supports for the sheep sector due to issues around meeting eligibility criteria for the fund.
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
“I have raised the crisis facing sheep farmers with the Minister several times and as to why the sheep sector does not qualify for much-needed funding under the BAR.
“He has previously stated that his Department have examined the issue and there is no clear link to the sector being affected by Brexit, which is a qualifying criteria for the payment.
“In the last week alone we’ve seen funding under BAR announced for the Organics Sector, which is welcome. However, it raises further questions as to why Sheep Farmers have been locked out.
“I have spoken with farmers and farm organisations who have cited Brexit as a factor in the crisis facing the sheep sector.
“It is clear the sheep sector urgently needs support and the BAR remains a viable fund to take that much-needed funding from.
“I am calling on the Minister to explain what specifically has been looked at in terms of using the BAR for the Sheep sector by his Department and where he is finding a blockage in using the BAR. He should also publish any work that has been undertaken on this by his Department.
“The Minister has repeatedly said if there are ideas on how the BAR could be accessed for Sheep farmers, he wants to hear it. If he means this then he should sit down with the farm organisations and find a way.”