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‘I believe a lot of farmers will go for solar panels’

According to Independent TD, Michael Fitzmaurice, sheep farmers are “struggling more” this year than ever.

When considering 2021 sheep prices and current returns, store lambs are “actually less today”, he told the Dáil recently.

He made the statement on the back of price hikes as he pointed to soaring fuel, energy, and meal costs.

The deputy told the Dáil: “I am not pre-empting something, but I believe that the talk is that it is going from €10-€12.”

“They were looking for €20 to try to offset the costs for them. There is a €20 million budget for it, but I cannot see any great thing in the budget for sheep farmers,” he added.

During his address, he welcomed funding for 30,000 new participants in the first year of the new agri-climate rural environment scheme, ACRES.

However, in doing so, he, once again, highlighted the need to implement a change for farmers and the cohort who own between 30-acres and 50-acres.

The deputy remarked: “We are going to keep the people who need the money most out of the system if we do not change some parts of that scheme.”

“The minister is well aware of my views on that, and hopefully, he will look at it.”

TAMS 

During his speech, the deputy welcomed funding for suckler farmers’ scheme and an increase in TAMS’ budget.

He said: “I believe a lot of farmers will go for the solar panels, but we need to know the detail.”

“We are nearly talking in the dark. We are looking at a figure of €30 million besides TAMS, and then there is a word about solar panels, but we do not know what percentage they will get.”

He also pointed to funding for anaerobic digestion and said that “this is where” money needs to be put through grant aid.

“Some say it will be through loans, but I hope it is not loans. It needs to be put in through grant aid because there is a huge opening for anaerobic digestion right around this country in different areas,”

“I hope the ministers of state ask the minister to look at that,” he concluded.

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