Paddy Donnelly, Westmeath candidate for the office of IFA vice president Ulster/ North Leinster, speaking at the launch of his election campaign in Mullingar said that the EU Commission must re-think their overall agricultural strategy for the future.
He said that all Irish farming sectors, dairy, beef, sheep, pigs, poultry, including also tillage need Commission assistance at this time. All farm producers are in a disastrous economic state because the volatility created by the globalisation of agriculture is decimating farm family incomes.
Mr Donnelly said that farm families are facing the worst income situation in a generation. The current market support systems must be maintained and enhanced until there is a full recovery in farm incomes. Referring to the forthcoming budget he said that the Government must not undermine the competitiveness of the productive sectors in the economy and must not discourage the restructuring of the agriculture sector.
Mr Donnelly said that if elected he will strive to fight the savage cutback in REPS and disadvantaged areas. He also pledged to help farming families of the region who are in financial difficulty with advice on supports that may be available to help get them through this difficult patch. He also promised to strive in getting more assistance for victims of farm related accidents.
A founder member of the Lakeland Lamb Producers Group, he has campaigned on animal health issues and played a leadership role in all recent IFA’s activities to support farm incomes particularly the Meat Factories Blockade and the Brazilian Beef Campaign.
Mr Donnelly wants to create an awareness of the capacity of farming in providing a multiplier for economic activity. Not only is food a basic need, but also a key resource for the nation he believes. As a member of the Westmeath Bio Diversity Group and a board member of Westmeath Community Development he would encourage more bio diversity on farms.