Cuts to EU supports will only serve to exacerbate farm safety issues, ICSA president Patrick Kent has told a Seanad public consultation on farm safety.
“It is unacceptable that the EU Commission or the Government would threaten cuts to EU supports for safety shortcomings when general reductions to farm incomes are making it harder for farmers to ensure all facilities and equipment are top class,” said Mr Kent.
“Instead, extra funding for farm safety grants is required, particularly given that the most recent scheme has been over subscribed.
“Decisions including the REPS closure, the reduction in Pillar 1 payments and insufficient action against multinational retailers taking more margin from product have all served to reduce farm incomes, and more money must be made available to support farmers who want to make improvements.”
Mr Kent also warned against an over-reaction to last year’s high level of farm fatalities.
“Fatality numbers had fallen in each consecutive year from 2010 to 2013,” he said. “One exceptionally bad year does not confirm a trend, and we must guard against a knee-jerk reaction and take these figures in the wider context.”
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