Speaking in advance of the National Economic Dialogue in Dublin Castle, which begins today, IFA President Eddie Downey said that balanced economic recovery must be a key Government objective and this requires a greater focus on, and investment in, rural Ireland.
He said, “While there has been an improvement in the public finances, hard choices must be made on where available resources are directed, and the sectors that can deliver a significant return, particularly to the struggling rural economy. Budgetary decisions must recognise the importance of funding for farm schemes as a vital stimulus to the rural economy, underpinning the viability of family farms and providing direct and indirect employment across the entire country.”
Eddie Downey said, “At a broader level, investment in rural enterprises outside of the main urban areas must be a strategic focus for Government. There is a real need for a Rural Charter to support farming and the wider rural economy that delivers improved competitiveness, jobs and growth across all rural communities.
“This must include delivery of a high quality rural fibre broadband network, tax incentives for investment in rural-based business start-ups, and ring-fenced funding for local authorities for the maintenance of rural infrastructure and delivery of rural services”.
He concluded, “Government decisions on taxation in October’s budget must reflect the importance of delivering a competitive business and employment environment, which rewards enterprise and investment, while the removal of inequities in the tax system between employees and the self-employed must be a priority”.