Independent TD, Michael Collins, has described yesterday’s Budget 22 announcement as “anti-rural” that will “do nothing to support” the rural economy or farm family.
Instead, he warned, the costs of operating a family farm or living in the countryside will “substantially increase”.
The Cork-South-West representative accused the government of being “completely insensitive” to the needs of farm families.
He said the budget fails farmers and the rural communities which depend on farming activity.
Speaking following the announcement, he 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.”
“In fact, when inflation – running at around 3% – is factored in, the allocation of government funding to agriculture in 2022, will be significantly less than this year’s allocation.”
Collins said the “mere” 1.8% increase in agriculture funding for 2022, bringing the overall allocation to €1.858 billion, will “not even keep up” with inflationary cost pressures.
Deputy Collins said the scale of the government’s inflicted crisis upon agriculture cannot be overstated
He pointed to:
- “Massive” hikes in costs;
- “The plan” of a national cattle cull;
- A raft of other “bureaucratic” and climate emission reduction measures, between 2021-2030.
“Thus, never was there a more important time to provide essential additional supports and some form of certainty for the sector.”
He said it is “clear” genuine concerns being constantly raised by the sector are not a priority at government level. He said the budget announcement confirms this “established theory”.
“Such detachment by the government is infuriating, but not entirely surprising. Fianna Fáil 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, today’s 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.”
Rural Independent Group’s Budget demands
The Rural Independent Group, sought funding in its pre-budget submission, for:
- Firstly, a €300 suckler cow scheme;
- Also, €30 per ewe scheme;
- Boosted €300 million ANC payment scheme.
“The government failed to deliver on any of these measures,” he added.
The group also sought a commitment to deliver €2 billion to the agriculture sector from the carbon tax receipts to 2030.
Instead, the government reneged on a previous commitment by failing to allocate any money whatsoever from the carbon fund to this sector in 2022.
It is transferring its previous commitment €49 million allocation for agriculture to the Department of Social Protection instead.
“Minister Charlie Mc McConalogue [is staying] 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,” concluded the deputy.