Sinn Féin TD Martin Ferris has criticised the lack of support from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael for a Sinn Féin motion seeking to improve the terms of the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) Scheme.
“As a TD for a rural county like Kerry I am well aware of the difficulties that our hill farmers face and our Seanad motion called on the Government to retain mountain sheep grazing as a separate category after the review of the ANC Scheme,” said Deputy Ferris after the motion was defeated in a vote in the Seanad.
A Proper Consultation
“The motion also called for payments to reflect the multiple bio-physical and specific constraints experienced by farmers who farm mountain type land, and for those payments to be set at similar rates to the current offshore islands rate.
“We also want to see the new ANC areas to be published in time to have a proper consultation before they are sent in draft to the EU.
Of those who opposed and voted against the motion, Deputy Ferris said:
“This motion is based on months of cooperation and interaction with the Irish Natural and Hill Farmers Association. It should not have come as a surprise to anyone or any group.
Another U-turn from Fianna Fáil
“I am told Fianna Fáil attended many of these sessions and privately expressed support for these very measures. However, when it came to solid action to help farmers, Fianna Fáil sided with their Fine Gael partners and relented on their previously stated position. It is another U-turn in a long list from Fianna Fáil.”
“This motion is a recognition of the dreadful position that hill farmers have been put in due to the land designation fiasco, the redistribution of ANC and the bureaucracy of GLAS.
“Hill farmers and commonage owners have been subjected to one attack after another. Fine Gael’s lack of support for marginal farmers is well known while Fianna Fáil pays lip service to the issues facing those struggling to make a living in rural Ireland.
“We in Sinn Féin forwarded a sensible solution this week. There are many parties who criticise Sinn Féin as a party of protest yet fail to support practical measures to alleviate the position of farmers,” said Mr. Ferris.
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