The Hill farmers motion, set up by Sinn Féin, has yesterday being rejected in the Seanad.
This comes after Fianna Fáil publicly had recently backed the campaign upon its announcement.
Sinn Féin set up to motion to seek improved terms of the Areas of Natural Constraints Scheme (ANC). The policy was called for by groups such as the Hill Farmers Association and Irish Natura.
Sinn Féin senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said the motion called for the retention of mountain sheep grazing as a separate category after the review of the ANC scheme, the payments of the scheme going forward to reflect both bio-physical and specific constraints experienced by mountain farmers, and for the payments in question to be set at similar rates to current offshore island rates. They also hoped that the newly mapped ANC areas would be published in time to have a consultation before the sending of the draft to the EU.
He also stated that when pushed to decide on the motion that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael both “voted against the motion being taken. This shows the lack of commitment they have when push comes to shove.”
He continued by stating that his party will continue to put pressure on other parties to recognise the difficulties facing Irelands Hill farmers, and they hoped to ensure that hill farmers receive a more equal share of European funding.
Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh also criticised the lack of support from Fianna Fail and Fine Gael for the proposed motion. Speaking after the motions defeat in the Seanad she said “this motion is based on months of cooperation and interaction with the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers association. It should not have come as a surprise to anyone or any group. Fianna Fáil attended many of these sessions and privately expressed support for these very measures. However, when it came to solid action to help farmers, Fianna Fáil sided with their Fine Gael partners and relented on their previously statements”.
She also said that said motion was set up in recognition of the hill farmers and the dreadful position they have been put in due to the “land designation fiasco, the redistribution of ANC and the bureaucracy of GLAS”.
She added that “Hill farmers and commonage owners have been subjected to one attack after another.” Before confirming her party will continue to push and support the motion and the struggling hill farmers.