A "robust financial package" to protect farmers during the Covid-19 emergency is essential, especially in order to mitigate the effects of the drop in demand for farmers' produce, particularly in the beef and sheep sectors.
This is the view of Sinn Féin Galway East representative, Louis O'Hara, who secured 16.7 per cent of first preference votes at the February General Election, and who lasted until the eighth and final count.
"This drop in demand has put huge pressure on many of our farmers who were already struggling financially as a result of corporate greed on behalf of the meat processors," said Mr O'Hara, who also called for opposition to "any attempt to import cheap sub-standard beef into Ireland from non-EU countries".
Sinn Féin is calling for the emergency package to be funded through unspent resources in the Department of Agriculture and other revenues if required. He also noted that the EU has given "much freedom" to individual member states on how to respond to this crisis, and has made "huge amounts of capital" available for loans to member states, interest-free.
"Our Government has no excuse for not putting in place such a scheme, or other additional support for farmers," said Mr O'Hara. "It is vitally important that workers in all sectors of our economy receive support, and farmers are no different from any other kind of worker. These supports will allow people to continue spending money in the local economy which will lessen the effects of the economic downturn that will follow this crisis. Farmers will also play a crucial role in driving economic recovery."