22 Sep 2015
RURAL IRELAND HAS TO SHARE IN ECONOMIC RECOVERY – IFA PRESIDENT TELLS POLITICIANS ON OPENING DAY OF PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIPSPresident
Speaking at the opening day of the Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co Laois, IFA President Eddie Downey said the Association would be sending a clear message to all politicians visiting the IFA stand: Government action is needed to ensure the economic recovery in Dublin and the main cities is fully reflected throughout rural Ireland.
He said, “The Ploughing event is a showcase that reflects the interdependency of so many businesses in the farming sector. The past seven years have been very tough for families and businesses across the country. Agriculture, as our largest indigenous industry, has shown resilience in helping the recovery with an increase in exports of 50% and a level of economic activity that supports 300,000 jobs. Despite this, farm incomes remain under pressure from rising costs and volatile markets. As the recovery takes hold, the Government has to focus its attention on the rural economy and ensure that the 440,000 householders and businesses benefit from the uplift”.
Eddie Downey said, “Farming and the agri-sector play a pivotal economic role across the country. Full funding of the Rural Development Programme – €580m per annum – will provide a valuable stimulus to rural Ireland. This funding will underpin economic recovery outside the urban centres and will deliver programmes of support for low-income farmers, support the provision of environmental services, encourage young farmers, promote on-farm investment and support farming in marginal areas”.
The IFA President said with farm incomes under pressure in many sectors this year, additional tax measures to deal with farm restructuring and income volatility are justified to ensure the growth plans of Food Wise 2025 are progressed. “Farmers expect the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney to deliver on these issues and ensure that payments due under the RDP are made on time, particularly given the cashflow pressures on farms this year.”
Eddie Downey said IFA’s Policy Charter for rural Ireland details investment that is needed in infrastructure such as broadband; incentivising towns and villages decimated by the downturn; and increased and measurable targets for policing hours and the presence of mobile units in rural areas by An Garda Síochána, to reduce crime and create a greater sense of security in the countryside.