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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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‘This government will result in many farmers pressed to the brink and forced out of business’

Independent TD, Richard O’Donoghue, has accused the government of “hitting another nail into people in rural Ireland who might want to build a future for their farming and family sectors”.

Reacting to Budget 2023, he expressed his anger over the government’s move to allocate “the lowest amount of expenditure” to the agricultural sector.

During his address to Dáil Éireann this week, he stressed that there is “no recognition” for the amount of technology that agriculture has embraced.

He told the house that farmers have changed “everything” about how they farm, so they have “played their part” in addressing climate change.

“If this government fails to recognise what agriculture is doing, it will see lower yields leading to fewer commodities and a shortage of products, which will, in turn, lead to food shortages.”

Young farmers and rising costs 

Moreover, he stated that several young farmers looked to this budget as one that “would provide additional measures in respect of farm succession from older to younger farmers in a way that would attract future farmers”.

“There is no cover for escalating fertiliser costs. Further support is only available for beef and sheep farmers, and there is nothing for the pig farmer.”

He told the Dáil that the rollover of the fodder and tillage scheme in the budget, while welcome, is “completely insufficient” to mitigate rocketing farm input costs, which are now at least 40% higher than a year ago.

O’Donoghue told the house that many farmers could not sustain increased feed, fertiliser, energy and other costs.

He believes that “a failure by this government to allocate a once-off farm payment to mitigate the dire situation will result in many farmers pressed to the brink and forced out of business”.

10% levy on concentre products & slurry storage scheme

The deputy then slammed the government’s move to place a 10% levy on concrete products to fund the mica-pyrite rebate.

He questioned why manufacturers and insurance companies that certified the defective products should not bear the brunt instead.

He pointed to the government’s slurry storage scheme before adding that “such storage is all made from concrete”.

The deputy stated that “what the government has done is put inflation into the farming sector”.

“On the one hand, it came up with a scheme for slurry storage, while on the other, it put on a 10% levy.”

“It did not only do that; it put on 10% plus 13.5% for supply and fit, in addition to 10% plus 23% for supply only.”

“The government has inflated the cost for farmers who are trying to do their bit for climate change. It has created more inflation.”

“It has helped to upgrade, and make more, inflation for this country,” he concluded.

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