Evoking the words of US President Elect Barack Obama – Breen urges Agriculture Minister to compromise and listen to Rural Ireland.

December 8th, 2008 - Pat Breen
Speaking during the recent Fine Gael Private Members Motion on Agriculture Deputy Breen said that  “The facts are that 3,752 suckler farmers in County Clare will lose an average of €713 each from the suckler welfare scheme. A total of 2,500 farmers will lose €1,000 each because of the disadvantaged area cuts. That amounts to €5 million from County Clare alone because two schemes were cut. 

The loss of installation aid was a major blow to young farmers, many of whom had decided to take up farming full-time as a result of the decline in the construction industry. That once-off payment of €15,000 was a tremendous help to many young farmers, particularly for legal fees on land transfer. The cuts to the early retirement scheme were another major blow to young farmers because this scheme was an incentive to elderly farmers to transfer their land to younger farmers. I believe the Minister is completely out of touch with rural Ireland. Instead of encouraging young farmers back to the land, he is driving them to emigrate to Australia and elsewhere. I refer to the cuts in two schemes alone. Farmers still will be obliged to pay the 1% levy on gross income before capital allowances, as well as costs pertaining to health, education, school transport fees, VAT and fuel increases, to name a few.

How could the Minister allow these draconian cuts in his Department? Has he a voice at the Cabinet table?

The IFA president stated on Sunday last that farmers will not go away. Farmers will not shy away from vicious attacks on their livelihood’s. I ask the Minister to listen to rural Ireland. I ask him to listen to some of the Fianna Fáil councillors who attended the march on Sunday last. They were not happy punters after their meeting in Tullamore.


US President elect Barack Obama stated during his campaign: “A good compromise … is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognise it”. I urge the Minister to compromise. He can do a U-turn. His colleagues have done so on other issues in this hastily arranged budget. He should be recognised as a Minister who defended the farming communities, not as one who sold out on rural Ireland.”