Scheme cuts will take thousands from farmers

Drystock farmer Pat Murray is facing a fall in income of €1,560 next year because of cuts to farm schemes by the Department of Agriculture.

Mr Murray, from Gorey, Wexford, was one of hundreds of Irish Farmers’ Association members who protested outside the Department of Agriculture yesterday at the closure of the suckler cow welfare scheme and cuts to the disadvantaged areas scheme, the sheep grassland scheme, and Farm Assist.

Pat Murray has 40 suckler cows and 100 ewes. The ending of the suckler scheme will mean huge losses for him as will cuts to the sheep grassland scheme and cuts to Vat on sales.

“There is little point in continuing with this stock if you are only about breaking even. My income is low anyway but to face a loss of 20% then? We’re being told that farming will grow the economy in the future but we won’t have any money to spend on our farms or in our local communities if we have to endure cuts like this.”

IFA president John Bryan accused the minister for agriculture of inflicting savage cuts on the most vulnerable sector of farming, and failing farmers who rely on schemes.

According to the IFA, the decision to remove disregards on Farm Assist will see a married farmer with two children lose €2,500 a year. “In many cases, these same farmers will also take the hit on the farm schemes, which underlines the disproportionate and unfair nature of what the minister has done,” said Mr Bryan.

Meanwhile, hundreds of anglers and environmentalists are expected to protest in the Co Cork town of Carrigaline this Saturday at Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney’s ongoing plans to further develop salmon farming around the coast.

Opposition has been mounting to Bord Iascaigh Mhara’s plans to develop a 500-hectare organic salmon farm off Inis Oirr and Marine Harvest’s bid to build a 100-acre farm at Shot Head, Bantry.

No Salmon Farms At Sea, Save Bantry Bay Group, Save Galway Bay Group, Federation of Irish Salmon and Trout Anglers, and Friends of the Irish Environment will meet at Carrigaline Secondary School and marching from there to Mr Coveney’s constituency office.


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