Speaking in the Dáil today on government’s priorities for the year, Sinn Féin Agriculture Spokesperson, Martin Ferris TD, said there is “palpable anger” in rural areas regarding issues of land eligibility and the lack of a replacement for REPS 4 for this year.
He also referred to plans for pylons and turbines across rural Ireland, on the eve of the launch of Sinn Féin’s Wind Turbine Bill.
Deputy Ferris said:
“One of the things which has caused anger was a lack of a scheme to replace REPS 4 for 2014, which this government falsely claimed to prioritise.
“Is this government and this minister so far removed from reality that they believe it is acceptable to leave a large percentage of farmers in disadvantaged areas with no payment for a whole year?
“The REPS payments were invaluable, not only to the environment which they were designed to protect, but to the more marginalised and weaker farmers in receipt of them.
“While farming community await final decision regarding Pillar II, it is fair to say that it is of huge importance to have a scheme to replace REPS 4 that will not reduce the farm incomes of that sector.”