The Irish Family-Farm Rights Group (IFRG) is urging farmers to “read the small print” of the election manifestos of all those seeking their vote.
If a promise on a doorstep isn't backed up in writing in an election manifesto, it is unlikely to be delivered, according to its national chairman, Donie Shine.
“Excuses after elections for non-delivery on promises given before elections are all too familiar.”
He explained that the IFRG made a submission to various political parties outlining the importance of the reintroduction of the REPs Scheme, with an interim payment of €300 on the suckler cow being necessary until the REPS scheme is rolled out.
“If you are a farmer on a small to medium-sized income and you could benefit from the introduction of a REPS-type scheme, with funding of at least the levels that were available under the old REPS, and you could benefit from a payment of €300 on the suckler cow in the meantime, then when your local politician asks you for your vote, ask him or her in return, if you can see where in their written manifesto they have committed to delivering on same and if they are prepared to make it a red-line issue.”
The farm organisation believes a new REPS Scheme should be fully co-funded by the national exchequer like the old REPS.
The IFRG already made a submission to the Department of Agriculture in 2019 broadly outlining the group's vision for how the new environmental scheme could work.
“Our submission was favourably received by the Department who invited the IFRG to submit further details on its proposal which is still a work in progress.”
Suckler sector critical mass
“So that agricultural output from specifically vulnerable sectors doesn't fall below levels required for sectoral critical mass, such as output from the weakening suckler beef sector, and until a new REPS Scheme is devised and rolled-out, a €300 payment per suckler cow survival scheme, payable on the first number of cows in a herd, is immediately required.”
The IFRG is holding a series of countrywide petition meetings so that farmers can show their support for same by signing a petition.
Meeting, so far arranged, are as follows:
- Racket Hall Hotel, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, Wednesday, January 29th, 7.30pm;
- Kilkenny Mart, Kilkenny, Thursday, January 30th, 8pm;
- Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Co. Clare, Monday, February 3rd, 8pm;
- River Island Hotel, Castleisland, Co. Kerry, Thursday, February 6th, 8pm;
- Loughrea Hotel, Loughrea, Co. Galway, Monday, February 20th, 8pm.
“If you wish to have a petition meeting organised for your area please contact me on 086 8149970 or watch this space or your local press for details regarding meeting venues and dates.” Shine concluded.