Ní Riada and Carthy oppose Commissions amendments to Agriculture budget
Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has raised concerns in Brussels today over the European Commission's amendments to the draft EU budget for 2015. Ms Ní Riada who sits on the European Parliaments Budgets Committee stated that the Commissions amendments regarding Agriculture would have a negative impact on already struggling Irish farmers.
Ní Riada said:
"Today I raised my concerns regarding proposals by the European Commission to reduce the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund by €448 million and reassign these funds elsewhere.
"The result will be a cut to single farm payments which will be another blow particularly to struggling beef farmers.
"The Commission also seeks to mobilise the agriculture crisis reserve which will come at a cost to recipients of direct EU aid.
"It would be grossly unfair to impose this decision at a time when prices are falling throughout the EU for beef dairy and other agricultural products.
"These price reductions, coupled with cuts in farm support and the imposition of levy's on dairy farmers will leave many Irish farmers in an untenable situation.
"We have yet to see any movement, from the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney, towards getting a handle on the crisis of beef pricing in Ireland.
"This is a crucial time of year for Irish farmers, with serious stocking decisions to be made. The Minister's indecision and inaction are adding to the instability of future planning for so many of our farmers.
"Meanwhile we continue to see Irish beef prices slump on the international market and along with it the income of our farmers.
Liadh Ní Riada and fellow Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy have been lobbied by farming organisations to represent the interests of struggling Irish farmers in the wake of the beef crisis.
"As part of my role on the Committee for Agriculture in the European Parliament I will be working to protect the interests of Irish beef farmers in Europe.
"Our beef farmers produce an exceptionally high quality product and yet they have only seen their incomes fall in recent years. This is unacceptable and does no justice to the great reputation Irish beef has abroad.
"I will also be opposing the proposed amendments from the European Commission as it will leave little in the way of assistance to farmers who have been affected by the Russian ban on European agricultural products or any further disruption which may arise in 2015."