Mr O' Connell said;
"Wexford farming has been in decline for many years due to the neglect of successive Irish governments. The last agricultural census showed that the average income for farms in this county was €17,771 per annum. To put this in comparison with other sectors, the average industrial wage in this state is currently €35,486.88 per annum. The idea that farmers are somehow privileged is completely false."
"Farming is a vital part of the Irish economy. The IFA estimates that farmers and farm families spend €8 billion per year in our economy. It’s thought that 300,000 jobs are supported by the agriculture, food and related industries. For every €100 of agriculture output there is a further €73 of output to the wider economy. 71% of raw materials used by our agri and fishing industries are sourced in the domestic market."
"The state has to ensure that the agricultural sector is safeguarded in this state."
"There are proposals that reforming the Single Farm Payment so that a per hectare rate of €400 for the first 20 hectares would be paid out. Currently over 80% of farmers receive an average payment of just over €5,000. Just 1.62% receive more than €50,000 but that accounts for over 10% of the total payments. Such a reform would benefit the 80% of lower paid farmers but should be tweaked to include extra payments on land above 20 hectares and including Pillar II payments and a new scheme to encourage young entrants."
"CAP reform must be scrutinised carefully by our government because we as a nation cannot afford to sign off on something which could damage an industry that provides so much to our economy."