CORK South West TD, Margaret Murphy O’Mahony has said that Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed must intervene to ensure any emergency tillage crisis aid fund provides the maximum payment under state aid rules of up to €15,000.
In a reply provided to Fianna Fáil, it has been confirmed that ‘applicants under any proposed Agriculture De Minimis Scheme may receive an aid amount of up to €15,000 in one fiscal year’.
“It is in the Minister’s power to decide the level of compensation that is being made available to tillage farmers who lost their crops. It is Minister Creed who is limiting the maximum grant to €5000.
“Minister Creed either doesn’t understand or worse still, doesn’t care, about the plight of tillage farmers who had their crop destroyed over recent years by severe weather. It is almost one year on from the crisis came to national prominence and farmers are still left in the lurch. It is absolutely disgraceful.
“While I welcome the start of talks on a crop loss compensation scheme, the ultimate litmus test will be the maximum payment available to be drawn down.
“Fianna Fáil successfully passed a Dáil motion in January this year calling on the Government to immediately establish a crisis support fund to provide direct payments to farmers who were impacted by severe crop loss in 2016. It was disappointing that Fine Gael and independent members of Government voted against this provision.
“The motion also called on the Government to “avail of current EU State aid ‘de minimis’ regulations that allow the Government to make available tailored support payments for farmers of up to €15,000 per producer”. Any new compensation fund must deliver on this at an absolute minimum.
“It is extraordinary that tillage farmers in West Cork are still waiting seven months on for such a fund. The Minister has continued to kick the can down the road on this. The time for delivery is now, and the Minister must ensure that the paltry €5000 offer is increased to reflect the difficulties tillage farmers in Cork have faced,” concluded Murphy O’Mahony.