Review of Areas of Natural Constraint should favour most disadvantaged – Adams
Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has stated that “farmers who experience the highest levels of disadvantage due to the non-productivity of their land should be the highest beneficiaries in the ongoing review of Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC)”.
Deputy Adams said:
“Currently the ANC scheme by which additional payments are made to those farmers trying to make a living on land disadvantaged by its physical condition, such as hill farmers, is being reviewed.
“Last week's Dundalk Democrat featured an article from Deputy O'Dowd which criticised Sinn Féin's support for those farmers represented by the Irish Natura and Hillfarmer's Association (INHFA) and displayed a worrying disregard for the difficulties facing farmers working poor land.
“In fact, Sinn Féin is proud to stand with the most disadvantaged farmers and to argue for a greater allocation of State resources for them.
“Sinn Féin Senators currently have a motion on the Seanad Order Paper on this issue which they have attempted to have debated on three occasions. However, neither Fine Gael nor Fianna Fáil Senators will facilitate this or agree to a vote on the motion. Yet, at meetings held all over the State, representatives of these parties duplicitously speak in favour of the INHFA’s demands regarding the review of ANCs.
“The Sinn Féin motion calls for the retention of mountain grazing as a separate category under the review of the ANC scheme and for the payments to properly reflect the multiple biophysical and specific constraints experienced by farmers who farm mountain-type land and for those payments to be at similar rates to the current offshore island rates.
“During last week's Seanad debate on this subject, Fine Gael Senators referred numerous times to the widening of the ANC scheme to include a greater number of farmers.
“Superficially, this might sound like Fine Gael supporting the farming sector but the reality is that there is a limited amount of funding available. Fergus O’Dowd knows this. He’s fooling nobody.
“Sinn Féin welcomes the review which provides an opportunity to address the inequalities that exist in farm incomes. We support the retention of this scheme and believe that all available funding should be allocated toward those farmers who are struggling with physical constraints that reduce the productivity of their farms.”