Kerrane and Murphy speak out on farmers’ concerns

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has called on Minister Charlie McConalogue to take action on urgent concerns raised by farmers.

She said that farmers have raised serious concerns over the past week around the delays to farm payments, announced changes to the Nitrates derogation, and the crisis facing the sheep sector. These concerns remain outstanding, she said, despite being raised with the minister for several months.

Deputy Kerrane said, “Farmers and representative organisations are yet again having to raise serious concerns that will affect many of our family farms and rural communities.

“The impact of delays to farm payments, of changes to the nitrates derogation, and of the crisis affecting the sheep sector are not new – these are issues that have been raised time and time again with the minister. Yet, what we are seeing now is several of these significant issues coming to a head following months of the minister failing to listen to farmers and failing to take action to address these concerns.

“It is really disappointing that these significant issues have been presented to the minister many times and, despite the alarm bells being sounded from farmers, we are in the situation we are in today. It is not too late for the minister to engage constructively on these key issues, and I am demanding that he does so as a matter of urgency”.

Adopting a different tone, Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy offered his full support to Agricultural Minister McConalogue as he comes under pressure over the Nitrates issue.

“I believe the present minister will do everything he can for those affected. He is constantly available to speak with any farmers individually or with their representative groups.

“The minister believes there is a need for unity between Government and all farmers. In the upcoming Budget, Fianna Fáil will ensure that farming and rural Ireland will get increased financial support”.