Fine Gael candidate in Tipperary, Noel Coonan TD has said that keeping the recovery going for rural and farming communities will bring more jobs to Tipperary, by contrast with Fianna Fáil’s treatment of the agri-food sector as a ‘sunset industry’, which decimated rural Ireland. Noel Coonan TD was speaking after Fine Gael launched its proposals to support rural Ireland, as part of Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan to keep the recovery going.
“Rural communities are critical to Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan to keep the recovery going inTipperary. The plan has three steps: more and better jobs; making work pay; and sensible investment in our public services like healthcare, transport and infrastructure.
Deputy Coonan continued: “The roll out of the Mid-West Regional Action Plan for Jobs will drive local job creation in Tipperary and bring down unemployment to under 7% in all regions.
“The implementation of €300 million in taxation measures to encourage greater mobility and opportunity in the agri-food sector will also help to drive employment. Fine Gael already introduced a €25,000 Family Transfer Partnership tax incentive to assist succession.
“The implementation of the Foodwise 2025 strategy will increase agri-food industry exports by 85% to €19 billion by 2025 and deliver 23,000 new jobs nationally. We will grow those exports by expanding the dairy, beef, seafood and consumer food and drinks sectors.
Deputy Coonan continued: “The €4 billion Rural Development Programme will benefit rural communities in Tipperary and we are committed to carrying out a mid-term review to ensure the full draw down of all EU funds.
“With a strong agriculture sector and a strong economy we can put the recovery to work by investing in new public services right here in Tipperary.
“No town or village in Tipperary will be left behind in the National Broadband Plan which will deliver 85% national coverage by 2018 and full coverage by 2020.
“Fine Gael is determined to stop the decline in our post office network and is pursuing new business opportunities to help our post offices thrive again. We are also committed to ensuring that patients throughout the country continue to have access to GP Services, especially in remote rural areas and that general practice remains sustainable in such areas into the future.
“Fianna Fáil deserted rural Ireland and their mismanagement decimated Tipperary. The agri-food sector was treated as a ‘sunset industry’ and agricultural colleges were threatened with closure as young farmers were encouraged to ditch their family business and take up jobs in construction instead. As a result, exports fell by 17% under Fianna Fáil.
“With 300,000 jobs lost under Micheál Martin’s watch, many parents saw their sons and daughters leave Tipperary for the UK, Australia, Canada and the US. In our long-term plan to keep the recovery going and create 200,000 jobs, Fine Gael wants to give them the opportunity to come home.
“Fine Gael believes that work must pay for our farmers, fishermen, foresters and small food processors, most of whom are self-employed. The average farming family have already seen their tax bills fall by €800 a year with our cuts to USC and reforms for the self-employed. Farmers are best positioned to benefit from Fine Gael’s plan to completely abolish the USC and ending the discrimination of the self-employed in the tax system.
“Rural communities and businesses have a choice; between the Fianna Fáil party who treated agriculture as a sunset industry, or a Government that has put agriculture back at the top of the economic agenda. Fine Gael has a Long Term Economic Plan to keep the recovery going here in Tipperary based on three simple steps; more and better jobs; making work pay and investing in better services,” concluded Deputy Coonan.
IFA Raises Payment Concerns with Dept at Charter of Rights Meeting
Speaking at a Charter of Rights meeting with the Department of Agriculture this week, the IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe said it’s absolutely essential that the maximum number of applicants in tranche 19 of TAMS are approved as soon as possible to provide certainty to farmers who are planning to carry out work.
IFA Rural Development Chairman Michael Biggins welcomed confirmation that payment of the ANC balancing payment will commence next week.
He stressed the importance of paying the remaining farmers as soon as they meet their stocking density requirements, which the Dept confirmed happens on a weekly basis. Farmers will be paid as soon as they meet the required stocking density, which in some cases will run to the end of the year.
Michael Biggins also called on the Dept to pay the ANC to farmers who omitted in error to tick the ANC box on their BPS application this year. “A system where a farmer has to ‘opt out’ rather the ‘opt in’ would ensure there are fewer errors when submitting applications,” he said.
IFA Deputy President Brian Rushe welcomed the payment of the BPS balancing payment which commenced this week. “The Dept also confirmed the issue around transfer of entitlement, which held up payments of around 1,000 farmers, has been resolved for most at this stage and the remaining ones will be resolved in the next week,” he said.
IFA National Livestock Chairman Brendan Golden has welcomed DAFM facilitation of farmers who made ‘Draft applications’ to BEEP-S scheme and who had operated under the impression they were participating in the scheme by carrying out measures on their farms. IFA had raised this issue directly with the Department of Agriculture and the acceptance of these farmers into the scheme is the right decision.
Regarding the Beef Finishers Payment, Brendan Golden again called for cattle exported for slaughter in the reference period to be paid on from the surplus in the Beef Finishers Payment fund.
IFA Launches Guide to Personal Insolvency Arrangements
IFA National Farm Business Chair Rose Mary McDonagh and Martin Stapleton, Chairman of the IFA Debt Support Service, have launched a Guide to Personal Insolvency Arrangements (PIA).
IFA Debt Support Service was established following the last recession to provide specific support to farmers in arrears.
The confidential service is comprised of an experienced team of IFA volunteers working with professional support to provide assistance to IFA members in financial difficulty.
Martin Stapleton said IFA has worked with over 500 farmers over the last few years. While the numbers in difficulty are reducing, recent weeks have seen an increase in activity from vulture funds since the COVID-19 Payment Breaks came to an end.
“This guide is available on IFA’s website and will serve as a useful resource for farmers in arrears seeking to protect their family home and farm land,” he said.
A Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) is a debt resolution mechanism outlined in the Personal Insolvency Act, which acts as an insolvency solution for people with unsecured and secured debt.
Rose Mary McDonagh added that a PIA can provide a debtor with protection from their creditors and on completion, a debtor will return to solvency.
At present, the Oireachtas is considering one of two Bills which will reform the area of personal insolvency and amend the current eligibility requirements for a PIA. Rose Mary McDonagh said the definition of relevant debt should be expanded to include debt prior to 2015, and debt secured in or over a debtor’s income reliant/core asset.
The IFA Debt Support Service can be contacted, in confidence, at 1890 924 853.
EU Must Complete an Impact Assessment of Green Strategies
Speaking after a meeting of European Farm Leaders (COPA) with EU Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans yesterday, IFA President Tim Cullinan said that the EU must complete a full impact assessment of the EU Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies.
“I told the Commissioner a full impact assessment is needed to determine how much implementing these strategies will cost,” he said.
“Frans Timmermans has threatened to withdraw the Commission’s own CAP proposal if it doesn’t take more account of the Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies. Yet he has no idea how much these strategies will cost or who will pay for them,” he said.
“People are quoting all these targets without any consideration for their impact on output or on production costs of farmers. Farmers cannot be left to carry the can on this,” he said.
“We also need Teagasc to do an assessment of the impact in Ireland. We are currently deep in discussions on the Agrifood 2030 strategy, but again we have a data vacuum,” he said.
“It’s incredible that the Economic Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture has examined the impact of ‘Farm to Fork’ Strategy on farm incomes, output and trade and neither the EU nor Ireland has,” he said.
“The US report predicts that as a result of the strategy, farm incomes would be reduced by 16%. This is as a consequence of the expected loss of production by 12% across the EU which would not be offset by the 17% increase in market prices.”
“If these measures were implemented, the report predicts a loss in output at an EU level which would cause exports to fall by 20% and imports would increase by 2%. The knock-on effect of these changes in trade is predicted to increase the cost of food by €132 per person in the EU.”
“If these figures are correct, they would be devastating for European farmers. Yet the EU Commission doesn’t know, or won’t tell us, what their assessment of the impact will be,” he said.