Sinn Féin’s Seanad Agriculture spokesperson, Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, slams Faiina Fáil and Fine Gael over recent vote on ANC.
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Sinn Féin’s Seanad Agriculture spokesperson, Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, slams Faiina Fáil and Fine Gael over recent vote on ANC.

The Donegal senator was far from impressed as both parties again voted against a motion supporting hill farmers. The motion was intended to provide fairness after the current review of the Areas of Natural Constraints (ANC) scheme has concluded.

Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn slams ‘bluster and diversion tactics’ as Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael again vote against motion supporting hill farmers

The Donegal Senator said of the vote “Fianna Fáil spokespersons claimed that they supported the demands of hill farmers but voted against our motion being taken because they wanted a debate on the motion also that the vote clashed with a meeting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee. My Sinn Féin colleagues and I believed these excuses to be just bluster and diversions tactics”.

He then added that his party proposed a debate on the topic take place before any decisions are made “We decided to test Fianna Fáil’s sincerity this week so we proposed that the motion be taken today after a debate and at a time that did not clash with sitting of Oireachtas Agriculture Committee.”

The proposed motion is requesting that mountain sheep grazing lands be kept in a separate category after ANC review, that the payments made in future reflect both multiple bio-physical and specific constraints experienced by mountain farmers and that those payments be of similar rates to offshore island rates, and finally it called for the new mapped ANC areas to be published in time so proper consultations can take places prior to their sending to the EU in drafts.

Mr Mac Lochlainn said of the decision of the vote “They instead cobbled together a blatant diversion of a debate on agriculture with the Minister for next week; a debate that avoids any actual commitments and that attempts to cover up divisions in both parties on this issue of fairness in the next ANC scheme for hill farmers.”

He concluded by reiterating his parties support to Irelands hill farmers, stating that “Sinn Féin will continue to stand up for the rights of our most disadvantaged farmers. We will not say one thing in front of a packed public meeting and do something entirely different when push comes to shove.”

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