Fianna Fail Deputy Eugene Murphy has called for urgent action in a bid to address the farm income crisis.
Picture Credit: Brendan Duffy
Deputy Murphy was speaking following his attendance at last week’s IFA briefing of Oireachtas members on the farm income crisis which took place in Dublin. Members of the IFA’s Executive Council which included County Chairmen and Commodity Chairmen were also in attendance to brief Oireachtas members and among those in attendance was Roscommon IFA County Chairman John Hanley.
Deputy Eugene Murphy warned that farming families throughout Counties Roscommon and Galway are under huge pressure as cash flow tightens and the viability of the family farm is put at risk. Deputy Murphy said that the introduction of the 25 million sheep scheme in Budget 2017 would be particularly important for farmers in Roscommon/Galway where there is a higher percentage of sheep farmers and the sheep industry is a vital factor for the local economy.
“The IFA has highlighted a number of priority actions which are needed and among those is the need to introduce the new 25 million sheep scheme in Budget 2017 and it’s vital that this scheme is as simple and effective as possible with minimal costs and bureaucracy for farmers. I would also like to see the re-opening of the revised GLAS scheme which when combined with the existing participants must accommodate more than 50,000 farmers places- I understand only 37,000 farmer places are currently accommodated,” said Deputy Murphy.
Access to Credit
The Fianna Fail Deputy also highlighted the fact that farmers need access to low cost credit which is one of the major stumbling blocks for farming families throughout the region.
“The cost of financing short-term working capital is very high with the average quoted rates for overdraft facilities of 8% and higher rates for merchant credit which is just not sustainable for hard pressed farming families who are already under immense pressure to make a living,” said Deputy Murphy.
Rural social scheme
The Fianna Fail Deputy also acknowledged that there should be more flexibility in the rural social scheme in order to cater for low income farmers in hardship outside the farm assist threshold and he called for the number of places in the rural social scheme to be increased from 2,600 up to 4,000.
Eugene Murphy concluded by saying that he would work with the IFA locally to address the farm income crisis while he would also continue to highlight these issues with the relevant Government departments.