Pádraig Walshe, president, said it was a retrograde step which would damage confidence. “Even in the difficult financial circumstances, the Government should have recognised that investment in agriculture was vital for Irish competitiveness.”
However, he welcomed the continuation of stock relief, stamp duty relief for young trained farmers and farm consolidation and farm pollution control relief.
Macra na Feirme president Catherine Buckley said freezing young farmers structural schemes, the young farmers installation scheme and the early retirement scheme is not strategic and will not benefit the sector’s productive capacity.
“Freezing these schemes is completely contradictory to Government policy which is to encourage the early transfer of farms to young trained farmers.”
ICMSA president Jackie Cahill said the cuts to programmes in 2009 will have a negative impact on farm incomes and development.
Labour spokesperson Sean Sherlock TD said it will discourage younger people from joining the sector.