National reserve measures “very small step” in required direction – Matt Carthy MEP
Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has warned Agriculture Minister Michael Creed that the precarious situation of young farmers will continue if further commitments regarding the national reserve are not provided.
“I welcome the Minister’s announcement that €5million in funding for a national reserve has been secured. This is a very small step in a much required direction and will come as some consolation for young farmers who were denied, with no prior warning, these same funds last year despite promises to the contrary during the 2013 CAP reforms.
“While this is good news, albeit minimal, for 2017, the Minister still has some serious questions to answer regarding the long term management of resources for young farmers.
“Yet again, we see no provision being made for the so-called ‘forgotten farmers’ category often referred to as the ‘old’ young farmer. The Minister continues to stall on this issue by saying he needs “clearance” from Brussels before making providing for this group. With respect to the legislation in place this just simply isn’t the case and it is well within the Ministers gift to allocate funding to this neglected category of farmer.
“Forward financial planning is of vital importance for young farmers (under 35) who make up just 7% of the farming community in Ireland. However the manner in which the Minister is running his department at the moment is making this impossible. Young farmers cannot be expected to just guess whether this resource will be available to them year in, year out.
“The decision that the national reserve will be replenished applying a linear cut to the value of all BPS entitlements, equivalent to the amount of unspent funds from 2015 draws attention to the now deafening silence from the Department on how the operation of its 50% claw-back policy on sales of entitlements and the two-year surrender rules are operating in Ireland.
"The objectives of both of these policies were to ensure a national reserve going forward, and the failure of the Department to make a statement on why this has not happened is now overdue.”