IFA President Tim Cullinan said the Government must immediately explain where the €1bn Brexit Adjustment Reserve Fund (BAR) has been allocated.
“An IFA delegation met with the Department of Agriculture this week and it appears only €50m from the fund is going to primary agriculture,” he said.
“There was much fanfare from Minister Simon Coveney, then Minister for Foreign Affairs, when this funding was ‘secured’ for Ireland. It appears to be disappearing in a fog of bureaucracy,” he said.
“The Government must come clean and set out where the full €1.1bn is being allocated or is it going back to the EU. We appreciate the tight criteria to access this funding, but there are very mixed messages coming from Government about why some proposals have been included and others have not. I raised this with Tanáiste Micheál Martin at a recent meeting of the Brexit Stakeholder Forum,” he said.
“While we have not yet had a ‘Hard Brexit’, Irish agriculture is still facing an uncertain future in relation to the UK market, especially with the new trade deals the UK are signing.”
IFA National Farm Business Chair Rose Mary McDonagh, who led the delegation, said IFA submitted a detailed document outlining the challenges every sector of Irish agriculture is facing because of Brexit.
“This document contained proposals to help future proof each sector from the challenges that have, and those that may arise due to Brexit. But instead of trying to proactively develop initiatives to deliver BAR funding directly to farming, we were told that €150m is being rerouted to the REPowerEU initiative which is effectively returning at least that amount to the EU,” she said.
Along with this document, IFA has had numerous meetings with senior politicians and the Department of Agriculture on this issue and it is very disappointing to see the small allocation from the BAR fund earmarked for primary agriculture. We need to see a clear statement by the Government on this issue as a matter of urgency,” the IFA President concluded.