Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Deputy Peter Burke, has raise a number of pertinent agriculture issues which were highlighted to him by concerned farmers within the constituency.
The Fine Gael TD said the Department of Agriculture need to communicate more to farmers at this time and provide increased financial and technical support.
“I have been contacted by a number of farmers who need essential work carried out on their farms to ensure they can implement appropriate animal welfare measures in the winter months. Many are due to have silage pits constructed, as well as the building of sheds which need to be in place before the winter arrives. With marts closed, farm holdings now have additional stock thus these buildings are essential.
“There have been issues with sourcing mechanical works for machinery as well as the securing of necessary veterinary supplies. Local authorities have been directed to pause all active planning permissions, which is unnecessary for certain agricultural planning as many consist of routine builds which do not have a material effect on neighbours.
“Similarly, farmers involved in TAMS need planning permission before they can apply or draw down funding. Farmers need clear, concise advice in relation to essential travel and access to farm supplies and hardware storesG
“The issue of working capital is at the heart of every business, farm enterprises included. While the overall pot cannot change, the Government need to look at measures to allow for early allocation and draw down of European funds. Beef and sheep farmers continue to struggle, with volatility being experienced in nearly every agribusiness market at present”.
Minister Michael Creed responded to these questions by announcing that his department will not need planning permission confirmed before farmers apply to TAMS, although before the complete application is processed planning will have to be in place.
He added that the Government are working on a legislative fix to allow further financial support packages to be given to farmers who he acknowledged continue to be under significant financial pressure. He assured the TD that further advice has been given to local agricultural offices and published on his department’s website.