Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has expressed his alarm following the revelation that young farmers will miss out on National Reserve payments for a second year. Minister Michael Creed claimed, in a parliamentary reply to Fianna Fáil, that funding for the National Reserve 'will be very limited'.
“I am very worried that young farmers here in the Midlands, and right across the country, will miss out on National Reserve payments for a second year. No money was made available this year and now Minister Creed is warning that funding for 2017 is limited. He has not given any indication as to when the fund will be restored and more worryingly he says the funding available for the 2017 fund will be 'very limited'," said Deputy Cowen.
Deputy Cowne said it was 'a disgraceful situation' that young farmers have forked out €3,000 for green certs and land leases to qualify for the scheme could now be left out of pocket. He added that the scheme was opened in 2015 and the funding was paid out to over 6,000 farmers however he further noted that the programme didn’t open for applications last year and it now it appears 'unlikely' that there will be funding available next year.
“These farmers’ backs are already to the wall. They have signed up to expensive leases to qualify for this scheme and now they are being left high and dry, with no entitlements or support. This is deeply unfair and is a reflection of the Minister’s ambivalence to young farmers.
“Minister Creed must fight for these young farmers and ensure that funding can be made available to ensure that they are not left burdened with debt. Farmers here in Offaly and across the country deserve better,” concluded Cowen.