Friday, July 12, 2013

Action needs to be taken to protect stricken farm sector – O’ Súilleabháin

Speaking at yesterdays Bannow-Rathangan Agricultural Show, Fionntán O’ Súilleabháin said that swift and precise action has to be taken to prevent a disastrous agricultural collapse in County Wexford.  Mr O’ Súilleabháin said that current debt levels for many family farms in this county were unsustainable and, if not adequately protected, their collapse would have a terrible knock on effect on local communities.

Mr O’ Súilleabháin said;

“At the moment communities across Ireland are hurting because of the effects of government mismanagement and out of control austerity.  Perhaps that is why the current dire situation being experienced by family farms up and down this county is not being reported on.  Unless effective action is taken swiftly, we are going to experience a disastrous collapse of our farming sector.”

“It is worth remembering 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.  Clearly we cannot afford to lose any of this.”

“The IFA has recently called on the government to draw down €200 million in low interest rate funding for the European Investment Bank to deal with the emergency credit crisis in Irish farming.  It’s estimated that nationally farms are up to €550 million in debt brought about by the forced purchase of high priced fodder after last year’s long winter and rising fertiliser costs.  Many co-ops and agri providers are feeling the pinch as they find themselves being owed by hard pressed family farms.”

“If drawn down, EIB loans could be distributed through our own banks at a rate of 2.5%, giving farmers and agri businesses a vital lifeline.  Failure to safeguard this vital industry at this time would be economic suicide.”

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