Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy TD, shares his views on Budget 2022.
All in all, Irish family farmers will be worse off as a result of this budget.
The government’s Budget has delivered virtually nothing for family farmers.
Irish family farmers needed Budget 2022 to offer a signal that government recognised the considerable challenges that they face.
Instead, they learned that for this government, it is more of the same.
There are virtually no new supports to help our farming families meet rising environmental obligations or facedown market pressures.
Our farming communities are asking for fair play. That means that they need a fair CAP, and they need fair prices for their produce.
They need the government to listen. When it comes to our family farmers and the rural communities that depend on them, this government has shown that they are tone-deaf.
What we saw in Budget 2022 for agriculture measures is an accounting exercise, a simple rollover of existing schemes; and with minimalistic measures that will not come close to meeting the needs of a sector in crisis.
Our proposals would have resulted in an increased spend of almost €220 million within the DAFM.
This is a 12% increase, whereas the government provided a measly 1% increase.
Crucially, our proposals would have benefited our family farmers that need the most support.
They would have benefited the rural communities who depend on those farmers and the environment.
The government’s proposals will do none of those things.
The following commitments would have helped smaller and poorer farmers in a meaningful way:
- Suckler payment of up to €300 per cow;
- €20 per ewe sheep welfare scheme;
- €5 million support package for wool producers;
- €25million increase for farmers operating in Areas of Natural Constraint
- Increased disregards for Farm Assist recipients.
No new supports
On the other hand, the government has provided no new support for suckler farmers, sheep farmers, ANC farmers, or Farm Assist recipients.
Rather than lecture farmers and rural communities about climate action and penalise them through carbon taxes and counter-productive policies, our proposed measures would help farmers play a positive role in reducing emissions and making necessary changes.
This would involve substantial investment in organics and facilitating new farmers in agri-environmental programmes.
Again, Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael and the Green Party did nothing in these areas.
Like other workers and families, the only difference that Budget 2022 will bring for farmers is that their fuel and heating costs will rise again.
But, the decision by the government to hike the carbon tax will place an additional burden on farmers.
It will also drive the prices of almost all inputs up further.