Mr O' Connell said;
"Up to €290 million will be available to the Irish government to draw from the EU Rural Development Programme this year and every year until 2020. That's a rise of over €100 million since last year and all of it comes at no additional cost to the Exchequer."
"Since 2011, agricultural funding has been cut by 13% while other government departments have seen cuts of around 5%. These disproportionately high cuts have come at a time when Irish farming faced a weather generated crisis which has led to a shortage of fodder and credit."
"If agriculture is to survive and flourish in this state, in keeping with the impressive targets laid out in the Food Harvest 2020 plan, then funding will have to be made available to the sector. Rural Ireland is dependent on a strong agri sector. This EU funding would not just benefit farmers, but entire rural communities across this country."