Sinn Féin MEP, Matt Carthy, today attended a mobilisation in Dublin where he joined hundreds of low income farmers and supported their demand that Minister Simon Coveney engages in meaningful consultation with a view to changing unworkable and unfair elements of the proposed Rural Development plan.
Speaking after the protest Mr. Carthy said: “Minister Coveney needs to wise up and be practical. He has to realise the anxiety certain elements of his proposals have caused within farming communities. It appears that the Minister is too concerned with an upcoming cabinet reshuffle and is not realising that he is fast losing the support of farmers.
“Rural Development supports are necessary to maintain farm income. The recent Teagasc National Farm Income Survey highlights the need for direct supports especially for low income farmers. Unfortunately the Minister is proposing measures that are unworkable and unfair.
“For example the 80% GLAS stocking collective agreement rule for Tier I entry and the 50-79% for Tier 2 is just maddness and cannot and willnot be accepted by farmers concerned. It must be dropped as a proposal immediately.
“I would urge the Minister to immediately engage with farmers, particularly Hill and Low-Income farmers, to resolve the measures that clearly cannot work and are unfair. For our part, we in Sinn Féin will continue to offer our support in whatever way we can to protect and support the network of family farms on which our rural communities are dependent”.