Hogan talking out of both sides of his mouth on Farm Safety – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has today criticised the European Agricultural Commissioner Phil Hogan on comments made at the Oireachtas Joint Committee Hearing yesterday. Carthy, who is a member of the Agricultural Committee of the European Parliament stated that the Commissioner has previously indicated that Single Farm Payments would not be linked to farm safety.
“I am bemused by the comments made by the Commissioner at the Oireachtas Committee hearing yesterday when he indicated that farm payments would be linked to safety compliance.
“It would appear that the Commissioner has done a u-turn on this issue given that he had indicated in a response to a written question to me that this measure was not being considered by the Commission.
“While I am certainly concerned at the fact that we are below our European counterparts in terms of farm safety performance it is not helpful to assume that this is down simply to the negligence of farmers.
“It is furthermore not helpful to further scare farmers, many of whom are elderly, isolated and working increasingly longer hours despite diminishing incomes, with threats of further cuts to their incomes.
“The working conditions and increasing pressures on our farming community is much more likely to be the cause of health and safety incidents on our farms rather than the negligence of farmers and it would fit the Commissioner better to investigate means of supporting farmers to encourage better work practices.”ENDS
See Full Text of Parliamentary Question and Response
Question for written answer E-000851/2015
to the Commission
Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL)
Subject: Farm safety
Further to remarks attributed to the Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, to the effect that direct payments to farmers may, at some point in the future, be linked to farm safety protocols, can the Commission address the following questions:
1. Has the Commission carried out or commissioned a study or report into farm payments and safety protocols, or will it do so?
2. Does the Commission have any views at this stage as to how farm safety protocols can be linked to farm payments and, if so, what are these views?
3. Will the Commission be considering any options that reward, though grant assistance or any other measure, those farmers who have excellent farm safety protocols in place?
Answer given by Mr Hogan
on behalf of the Commission
Farm safety is of utmost importance for all people employed in the farming sector. The Commission is well aware of the fact that farm safety at holding level should be respected and that in some areas there might be room for improvement.
Within the CAP, several measures are set up aiming to improve the working environment, e.g. safety standards, at farm level. This can be done via a wide set of measures within the Rural Development programmes such as the knowledge transfer and information actions or through investment support. Furthermore Rural Development allows financing of Farm Advisory Services, which have a key role to play in providing relevant advice regarding occupational safety standards and safety standards linked to the farm, in particular for new entrants.
The Commission deems it sufficient to stimulate the improvement of farm safety via the above mentioned set of support measures.