Michael Fitzmaurice TD has put forward a series of proposals to the Government ahead of next Tuesday’s Budget, adding that immediate action is needed on several important farming issues.
Speaking on Farming Michael Fitzmaurice said “It is imperative that the Departments of Finance, Social Protection and Agriculture recognise the problems that exist with regard to farmers. In terms of the Fair Deal Scheme there should be at least a 50% reduction announced for the assets considered under the scheme. We also need to give incentives for older people to retire from farming and incentives to bring young people in to agriculture” he added.
“With regard to the ‘forgotten farmer”- in the Government formation talks I ensured that they were included, and the budget needs to move to solve this issue as soon as possible”
Michael Fitzmaurice says the Minister needs to re-open the Glas and Beef Genomics schemes immediately. Under TAMS, grants for slatted sheds and for drainage and the cleaning of drains be included’
“I am also calling on the Minister for Agriculture to establish a fund to aid tillage farmers who are in deep trouble because of the bad weather this summer. I have also called for an extension to the deadline for spreading slurry and I am repeating that today”.
“With regard to the sheep sector, I want the Minister to announce the €25 million fund that I negotiated in the programme for Government talks to aid that sector.
I am also calling on the Minister this week to extend the different schemes that require fencing to be done in connection with sheep fencing grants under TAMS, as there is ground, particularly in the West of Ireland, that farmers are not able to work on. The tractor and post drivers are not able to go in on the land in many cases and the conditions are horrendous. Instead of having deadlines on these matters, the Department needs to realise the tough conditions that farmers have had to work under over the last few months and they need to extend this scheme so it takes the pressure off the farmers and the contractors. Michael Fitzmaurice added that he is writing to the Department of Agriculture to ask them to “sort out this extension immediately”.
I would also ask Minister Creed to review the forestry policy which is in the programme for Government that would ensure that multi-nationals and big foreign companies and vulture funds would not get the same grants as the smaller investor.
“These are all extremely important issues for farmers and I will be listening very carefully to the Minister on Tuesday to see what measures he has in place for farming and how much that was agreed in the Government formation talks will actually be implemented. he concluded
“Action needed on USC and on the Old Age Pension”
On the subject of the Universal Social Charge Michael Fitzmaurice said “Despite the alleged upturn in the economy the Government must do something for middle income earners in Tuesday’s budget. I would be proposing a substantial cut in the USC rate for salaries under €65,000 per year. I also think that no one would begrudge pensioners of a rise of €5 Euro a week in their pension. I will be speaking in the Dail on both these issues this week and seeking support for that position prior to the budget next week.”
I would also like to hear from Fianna Fail on suggestions that the reduction in USC could amount to as little as €2 per week for middle income earners. This is the sector who have been affected most under the many years of austerity and the proposals we are seeing today are merely a token gesture which will be eaten up by increases in other areas in the Budget”
“Once again over the past few days there has been much speculation about a proposed rise in diesel prices as part of the forthcoming Budget. I have said repeatedly that any such rise would be an attack on people in rural Ireland who have no access to public transport and who need their cars to get to work. It would also be devastating blow for businesses such as the haulage industry which is on it’s knees at the moment. I’d like to remind the Government and Fianna Fail who are propping them up, that almost every item we buy in our shops from food to all other goods are delivered by vehicles using diesel. I hardly have to outline the effect any increase in the tax on diesel would have on costs and on inflation.”
“I am calling on Fianna Fail to make a clear statement as to what their attitude to this proposal is so that the people can be clear where the party stands. There is no point them talking out of both sides of their mouths criticising these proposals yet propping up the Government that made them. Either they support the proposals or they don’t.”