5th December, 2012
Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) national president, Gabriel Gilmartin, has described the Government’s announcements on expenditure cuts as providing mixed signals to the farming community.
“While the announcements are not as severe as previously anticipated, the fact remains that a cut of €105 million to the agriculture budget will translate into some cuts to farm income, particularly with a €30 million cut in Disadvantaged Area Scheme and a €19 million cut to REPS,” Mr. Gilmartin said.
“The problem is that agriculture has been asked to take 4.7% of the total €2.2 billion expenditure this year even though it only accounted for 2.8% of gross voted expenditure in 2011. What’s worse is that more of the same is predicted for next year and the year after. Government must realise that ongoing cuts to farm schemes will deter farmers from investing with a view to expanding exports in line with Food Harvest 2020 targets.
“Nonetheless, ICSA is pleased that the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme has remained intact. It also appears that there will be some effort made to ensure that active farmers are spared from the worst of the Disadvantaged Area cuts. This will need further clarity but ICSA believes that the focus on eligibility rather than cutting everyone is a better approach,” Mr. Gilmartin concluded.