Budget 2018 ‘must see proactive measures to protect rural Ireland from Brexit’ – Kenny
In publishing Sinn Féin’s rural Ireland Budget proposals, Agriculture spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has said that, in the face of Brexit, Irish farming and rural communities must be prioritised by Government. Deputy Kenny said that the shadow of Brexit was already seriously harming the Irish economy and that proactive measures were needed before the full impact of Brexit was felt.
To this end, Sinn Féin is proposing a €10 million Brexit Support Fund, designed to assist small businesses and farmers in assessing and preparing themselves for Brexit.
Sinn Féin are also proposing bolstering our flood defences by an additional investment of €35 million to bring the total to €105 million for 2018 in order to escalate flood mitigation works.
The TD for Sligo-Leitrim said:
“Rural and farming communities face particular challenges as a result of Brexit, and this Government has done precious little to ease that uncertainty
“A report by the joint Oireachtas Committee in March identified serious threats to the agriculture sector and a report published by Bord Bia has stated that Brexit has already cost the Irish Food and Drink Industry almost €570 million in 2016.
“The prospect of a reinforced border on the island of Ireland is devastating for small businesses and farming communities, particularly for those who straddle that border.
“Sinn Féin has consistently called for special designated status for the north within the European Union in order to protect the interests of citizens on this island, north and south.
“Budget 2018 must ensure that our rural and farming communities are provided with supports to address the challenges faced by Brexit.
“Sinn Féin is arguing for the establishment of a €10 million Brexit Support Fund, designed to assist small businesses and farmers in assessing and preparing themselves for Brexit.
“Such a fund will also provide for the expansion of current enterprise programmes in order to provide all required assistance to our SMEs, including those in the Agri-food industry.
“Sinn Féin has a vision for rural Ireland. A vision to make it a sustainable place to live and work. A place where the quality of life is matched by the quality of public services.
“This includes a policy commitment to keep rural post offices, libraries and Garda stations open and to maintain services that connect people with their local towns.
“We need to see fairness and equality needed for Irish farmers and rural communities and that is what Sinn Féin will continue pursue at national and European level.”
Note: Please see the ‘Standing up for farming and rural communities’ document attched