The two main Farming have congratulated Michael Creed on his appointment as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and highlighted a number of key areas that need attention.
Wishing him well in the role, IFA President Joe Healy said he looked forward to an early meeting with Minister Creed to discuss the severe income crisis in farming and he expects a strong response from the new Minister for Agriculture.
He went on to say that the IFA will be working with the new Government, on the implementation of all of the measures on agriculture in the Programme for Government.
The IFA President welcomed the positive aspects on agriculture contained in the Draft Programme, in particular the new funding for sheep and Disadvantaged Areas (ANCs).
Joe Healy said that IFA had presented detailed proposals on farming to the political parties in the General Election and during the Government negotiations. He said a significant number of the measures contained in the Draft Programme reflect the issues raised by IFA.
The IFA President welcomed the proposed €25m funding for a new sheep scheme and the increase in funding for the ANC Scheme of €25m. He said both measures need to be in this year’s Budget and paid out to farmers in 2017.
IFA had undertaken intensive campaigns over the last year for a new targeted sheep payment and the restoration of Disadvantaged Area payments (ANC).
ICSA president Patrick Kent congratulated Michael Creed on his appointment adding that the new Minister “has a challenging time ahead with numerous issues needing urgent attention, most notably the double threat of the Mercosur and TTIP deals and the detrimental effect they pose to the Irish beef industry.”
“The current Rural Development programme also needs to be refocused to make it work better for farmers. Key issues include the reversing of cuts to disadvantaged areas, a more user friendly GLAS that delivers real benefits and a dedicated sheep scheme. A common sense approach to the BDGP scheme is also required and a commitment to ensuring that the planned allocation is fully utilised.”
Addressing the issue of the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Scheme (QAS) Mr Kent said, “The Minister needs to ensure that the purpose of QAS is to reward farmers, not penalise them.”
“ICSA looks forward to working with Minister Creed on these and many other issues affecting Irish farmers. We wish him well in his new role.”
ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock took the has congratulated Heather Humphreys on her appointment as Minister for Regional Development, Rural Affairs and Arts and Culture. He called on the new Minister to give immediate priority to sorting out the flooding issue in the Shannon catchment areas.
Farmers and others who were affected by the floods are still suffering the consequences of the floods, and have been left in a virtual limbo as far as short term and longer term plans for the area. “Adequate funding needs to be provided immediately. We need a review of the flood compensation scheme which has proved inadequate. We are demanding that steps will be taken to ensure that this disaster cannot be repeated. Top of the list is to tackle the need for dredging of the Shannon and associated waterways,” said Mr Sherlock.
ICSA is committed to helping farmers in whatever way we can and we will continue to keep pressure on Government until farmers have been taken care of.
Mr Sherlock wished Heather Humphreys every success and said he looked forward to working with her.