Credit: Tim Thompson / Scop.io

Farmers deserted in flop Budget, Rural Independents say 

Budget 2022 has been described as “deeply anti-Rural” and a measure which “will do nothing to support the rural economy or the family farm”. Instead “the costs of operating a family farm or living in the countryside will be substantially increased, according to Cork-South-West Rural Independent TD, Michael Collins.

Deputy Collins said:“Despite this government’s infliction of immeasurable damage to Irish agriculture under its climate action policies, today’s budget delivers absolutely nothing to support the family farm or the wider agri-food sector, which cumulatively employs over 164,400 people.”

“This budget fails farmers and the rural communities which depend on farming activity,” he claimed.

“In fact, when inflation – running at around 3 percent – is factored in, the allocation of government funding to agriculture in 2022, will be significantly less than this year’s allocation. The mere 1.8 per cent increase in agriculture funding for 2022, bringing the overall allocation to €1.858 billion, will not even keep up with inflationary cost pressures.”

“The scale of the government’s inflicted crisis upon agriculture cannot be overstated, from massive hikes in costs, to the plan of a national cattle cull, and a raft other bureaucratic and climate emission reduction measures, between now and 2030. Thus, never was there a more important time to provide essential additional supports and some form of certainty for the sector.”

He said that the “genuine concerns being constantly raised by the sector” were clearly not a priority for the government. Today’s Budget announcement confirms this established theory.”

“Such detachment by the government is infuriating, but not entirely surprising, as Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are now more intent on staying in power and keeping the greens happy, than addressing genuine and growing concerns.”

“Budget day is all about setting out priorities and marking financial commitments. Sadly, todays budget illustrates that Irish agriculture is far removed from government prioritisation. Instead, the sector is being targeted for very costly carbon tax increases, cattle culls, and red tape nightmares.”

“Contrastingly, my colleagues and I in the Rural Independent Group, sought funding in our pre-budget submission, for a €300 suckler cow scheme, a €30 per ewe scheme and a boosted €300 million ANC payment scheme. The government failed to deliver on any of these measures.

“We also sought a commitment to deliver €2 billion to the agriculture sector from the carbon tax receipts to 2030. Instead, the government shamefully reneged on a previous commitment by failing to allocate any money whatsoever from the carbon fund, to this sector in 2022. The previously commitment €49 million allocation for agriculture is being transferred to the Department of Social Protection instead, as Minister Charlie Mc McConalogue stays silent on the matter.”

“It is no wonder that farmers feel abandoned by this spineless government. The only certain thing in today’s Budget, is that farm families will be financially worse off next year. This deplorable treatment of our most cherished domestic sector by the government, is deceitful,” he said.

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