IFA Animal Health Chairman, Pat Farrell said the recently published Spending Review of the TB Eradication programme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture jeopardises ongoing farmer support for the TB eradication scheme.
The IFA Chairman accused the IGEES (Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service), who compiled the report on behalf of the Department of Agriculture, of failing to understand the unique role played by farmers in the programme. He said they were adopting a simplistic budget cut approach to the scheme.
Pat Farrell said the economic facts of the Irish programme are;
- Farmers in the UK make no direct financial contribution to their TB Eradication programme
- Irish farmers contribution to the programme has increased by €4.5m since 2012 to €35m in 2018
- State contribution to the programme has reduced by €291,000 over the same period to €45.5m
- EU Co-Financing of the programme has reduced by €1.3m to €9.7m
Pat Farrell said, “The IGEES report has seriously angered farmers by misrepresenting the enormous direct and indirect contribution they have made to TB Eradication over the past 60 years in this country”.
In addition, he said the claim in the report that farmers are in some way to blame for the Departments failure to eradicate TB because of compensation levels are too high, clearly shows a complete lack of understanding of the trauma, hardship and enormous financial burden the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed’s controls in the programme are inflicting on farm families throughout the country on a daily basis.
Pat Farrell said, “This report combined with the Ministers refusal to meet farmers to discuss compensation issues in the programme has forced farmers into a position of seriously questioning the ongoing contribution of €35m to a programme that has failed to deliver on its objectives and is implemented by a Minister and his officials who refuse to listen to farmers issues and address them”.
IFA have set out detailed amendments that are required to the compensation schemes to alleviate the enormous burden on farm families and allow the measures necessary to expedite eradication be implemented, unfortunately the Minister and his officials refuse to consider these as part of the new programme, effectively slowing eradication of the disease.
Pat Farrell said the Minister and his officials should not take for granted that farmers will continue to contribute €35m a year to a programme that returns only €18m in compensation to affected farmers if he continues on the current path.