Ferris says Government should reverse budget cutbacks
The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture Martin Ferris TD has said that if the Government has suddenly come up with €70 million to give to processing companies, it should also be able to reverse the swingeing Budget cutbacks in the sector by reinstating schemes such as the Early Retirement and Installation Aid. The Kerry North TD also expressed concern over the impact which the closure of Agricultural Credit Corporation Bank offices is having on farmers.
Speaking today Deputy Ferris said: “When the Government introduced the drastic cuts in the agriculture Budget they claimed that the money simply was not available to fund the programmes which they closed, schemes which made a huge difference to the livelihoods of many farmers around the country. And yet now, strangely enough in the middle of an election campaign, they can suddenly find a large sum to hand over to meat processors. Farmers are quite angry over this, and I would suggest that if this money is to be spent it ought to be directed towards farmers rather than processors.”
Referring to the ACC office closures, the Kerry North TD said, “Apart form the job loses which will have a major impact in those towns where the offices will be closed, the closures will also have an impact on farmers who have accounts with the ACC and who have regarded it as their first option for lending purposes. The ACC has generally been better in dealing with farmers, many of whom now find it difficult to get loans from the other commercial banks. It also reinforces the criticisms which Sinn Féin made in 2002 and when the ACC was sold out of public ownership, having been an example of successful state intervention in order to ensure credit supply for farmers over many decades.” ENDS