General Election 2016

Plight of Young Farmers must be addressed immediately

General Election 2016
“The plight of the new young farmers has come to our attention once again on the canvass during this election campaign and their situation must be addressed immediately by Minister Coveney.”

That’s the view of Independent candidate in Roscommon Galway Michael Fitzmaurice this week.

“Many of these young farmers, who were supposed to be allowed into the Glas Scheme under Tier 3 are not being allowed into the scheme. Minister Coveney, in reply to a question from me in the Dail stated that all young farmers would be allowed into the scheme. However we have been informed today that some young farmers who are under Tier 3 are not being allowed in. This is another example of our Agriculture Minister not being in touch with what is happening on the ground”

“We all heard a big fanfare a few years ago announcing the arrival of so many young farmers into agriculture but that excitement has petered out in no uncertain fashion in recent times. The entitlements that they are receiving are very welcome but the payments are being made in a drip-drip fashion which is not good enough. A lot of these young farmers have leased land and have to pay for it, and have a lot of financial burdens in many cases and sadly the Minister and his department are not sending these payments out fast enough. Now we know that some of these young farmers have not got any payments at all yet. Many of these farmers borrowed money on the understanding that they would have received their payments by December so it is an unacceptable situation. I have been working on this issue on a constant basis and indeed we have got many of these farmers sorted out with payments. Instead of closing DVO offices around the country the Minister should hold on to the staff concerned and re-allocate to them to work on the payments system so that when farmers are owed their money, they receive it on time” he concluded.

“I ask the question what vision does Minister Coveney have for the future of farming if these young farmers are being stopped going into the Glas Scheme? If you look at the age profile of our farmers around the country it is getting older and older. This is an opportunity to address that now, but if Minister Coveney continues to keep his head in the sand on this issue, he will once again see the numbers in farming dwindle We had 300,000 farmers in Ireland when we joined the EU now we have only 120,000, does he want to be the Minister responsible for reducing that number even further? ” he concluded.