IFA President John Bryan, Connacht Vice-President Padraic Divilly and the IFA County Chairmen from Connacht met Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Castlebar, to discuss a number of issues, including a new AEOS scheme, that are of concern to farmers.
John Bryan said the Taoiseach had an understanding of the pressures on farmers and committed to discussing farmer concerns on a new AEOS scheme, Disadvantaged Areas anomalies and TB restrictions with the Minister for Agriculture in the coming days.
Mr Bryan said, “Over 4,000 farmers in Connacht, and 13,000 nationwide, are without an agri-environment scheme as they have completed their REPS3 contract. Direct payments are a very important part of farm income, especially in the West of Ireland. Cutbacks across a range of schemes over the last number of years have had a very serious impact on low-income farmers in marginal land.”
The IFA President said a clear message was delivered to the Taoiseach that farmers who have left REPS3 must have a new AEOS scheme available to them. He said, “In the Connacht region, the value of payments lost was nearly €27m. This is a major blow to the local economy in each county. A replacement AEOS scheme would help to reduce the negative impact of this for low-income farmers across the country.”
IFA Connacht Vice-President Padraic Divilly said farmers in the West of Ireland are heavily reliant on direct payments to make up their income, and he welcomed the Taoiseach’s commitment to deal with the retrospection anomaly on the Disadvantaged Area changes.
Concluding, IFA President John Bryan said the IFA delegation had a constructive meeting with the Taoiseach on problems with farm schemes, and he was also hopeful that progress can be made on farmer concerns in relation to TB restrictions.