This was the message from Martin Kenny TD, when speaking about Minister Creeds response to his questioning of low farm incomes.

This was the message from Martin Kenny TD, when speaking about Minister Creeds response to his questioning of low farm incomes.

Mr. Kenny described the low incomes as inadequate and disingenuous.

He added that the low incomes reported suggest a significant crisis for a majority of Irish Farmers, he said that the Ministers response was that 64% of farms are only part time.

He said, “The Teagasc figures showing that the average farm income last year was only €24,000, a decrease of nine per cent since 2015, which indicates a significant crisis for the majority of Irish farmers. The Minister’s response in the Dáil yesterday when I raised this was to point out that 64% of farms are classified as part-time.

He said the reason farmers are part time is because of the low incomes in the first place, “The reason that two-thirds of farms are part-time is because incomes are so low that people cannot make ends meet without working off-farm. The minister likes to suggest that this is a choice.”

Mr. Kenny continued by stating when he questioned the minister of plans to increase farm incomes, he was just pointed in the direction of the direct payments made by the EU. He said, “When I asked what were the plans in the Department to support farmers and increase farm income, his response was to point to direct payments from the EU and the Agriculture Cash Flow Support Loan Scheme.”

Kenny also added that such is the quality of Irish meats, that top prices should be paid, “Meanwhile, Irish meat and dairy produce is of such a high quality that it should be fetching top price on the market. There is a job to be done in the promotion of such agri-food produce in the top-class and top price range and that price should be reflected in the price that the primary producer, the farmer, receives for his hard work.”

Mr. Kenny concluded by saying it is the middlemen profiting while consumers pay the big prices, and he called on the department to ensure farmers are treated fairly, “It is not good enough that the middlemen can cream off high margins and that the consumer pays top price, but the farmer is not benefitting. We see the government again gives ‘market’ priority over the well-being of citizens. We see it in the housing crisis and we see it in unwillingness

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