According to data released to Aontú by the Department of Agriculture, the Government has sent a request to the EU Commission asking to transfer €150 million of Brexit Adjustment Reserve (BAR) funding to support the roll-out of climate measures.
The Aontú candidate for the Ireland South, European Constituency, Patrick Murphy said: “I am disgusted at a response received by Aontú from the Minister for Agriculture which confirmed that the Government has sent a request to the EU Commission asking to transfer €150 million of BAR funding to support the roll-out of climate measures.”
“This is a slap in the face to rural Ireland, our farmers, and our fishermen, who were meant to receive these funds.”
Mr Murphy continued “BAR funding was given by the European Union to mitigate the impact of Brexit. Despite farmers leaving the industry in debt en masse and the fishing industry being completely decimated, the Government did not adequately allocate these funds to them.
“As a fisherman and a small farmer, I intimately know how Brexit has devastated our community. This is just another example, among many, of how completely out of touch with rural Ireland this government is,” he said.
“I was involved in the Task Force set up by the Minister to advise on how these funds should be spent. This decision flies in the face of any advice any expert would give the Minister. BAR funding was a lifeline to many in Rural Ireland, for the Minister not only to withhold these funds, but to seek to redirect them, is simply cruel”
“Government policies are having a horrific impact on rural Ireland. A recent study by UCD found that nearly a quarter of farmers are considered at risk of suicide with the number one factor being Government policies designed to reduce climate change. This is horrific,” he said.
Aontú and the Rural Indepenents were amongst a small minority of TDs who voted against the Climate Action Bill.
“Is the only party that voted against the Climate Action Bill. A bill which paved the way for carbon tax. If the Government really cared about the environment, they should focus on reversing the Mercosur Trade Deal, which outsources our emissions to South America where we see large scale deforestation, wildfires and overgrazing. The Government needs to stop punishing rural Ireland, and give it the investment it is owed” concluded Mr Murphy