June 24th 2014
ICSA President Patrick Kent has expressed surprise and disappointment at Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney’s comments on farm household incomes.
The Minister’s comments that that family farm income does not equate to farm household income, and that on 51% of farms, either the holder or spouse had an off-farm job, were made in response to a recent Dáil question. The Minister appears to suggest that low farm income doesn’t matter if it can be subsidised by off-farm activities.
“The Minister’s comments are nothing short of outrageous,” said Mr. Kent. “Would he expect staff in his own department to be happy with a pay cut just because their partners had an income of their own? Would nurses or teachers or the Gardaí accept such a situation? I fail to see how spousal income comes into this equation.”
“I’d have to query the Minister’s motivation in the light of this,” continued Mr. Kent. “Is he truly committed to improving the plight of struggling beef and suckler farmers, or is he simply biding time until he leaves office and can pass the buck to someone else?”