Ferris calls for protection of Farm Assist Scheme
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Agriculture, Martin Ferris TD this evening called for the Farm Assist Scheme to be maintained. Last week’s Budget announced changes to the scheme which would mean losses of over €40 for some farm families. Deputy Ferris earlier met with farmer representatives who were protesting at the Department of Agriculture over the cuts.
Deputy Ferris said: “Within the farming community the Farm Assist Scheme plays a vital role in providing some measure of protection for struggling farm households. There are around 11,000 farmers on the scheme and around 70% of them are in western counties where low income farm households can also avail of the threatened Disadvantaged Area Scheme which likewise contributes a small but essential element to family farm incomes.
“In my own county alone there are over 800 farmers on Farm Assist and more than 100 in West Limerick. A small farmer on modest income with children can currently receive over €80 per week. That is the difference for many struggling families between being able to keep their heads above water and ending up in a really bad situation.
“It is therefore vital that the scheme is maintained as it is as the proposed cuts would consign people in an already difficult situation to one that will be much worse.”