Mayo’s two government TDs were labelled a “disgrace” by county councillors at a meeting of the Claremorris electoral area committee this week over the farming cutbacks announced in Budget 2009.
Cutbacks in agriculture will lead to the decimation of rural Ireland if Dara Calleary TD and Beverley Flynn TD don’t make a stand, was the message from Tuesday’s meeting.
The past year has been one of the most difficult for farmers, explained Ballyhaunis Councillor John Cribbin and he said angry scenes at a recent IFA meeting in Claremorris against recent budget cutbacks highlighted the need for Mayo’s two Fianna Fáil TDs to speak out.
Increases in the cost of fuel and fertiliser, coupled with a bad summer weatherwise, have made life extremely difficult for the county’s farmers, added Cllr Cribbin.
He called on Deputies Calleary and Flynn to stand up and represent farmers in their hour of need.
“If cutbacks are implemented as proposed there will be ‘for sale’ signs on many farmyard gates in the county,” he stressed. “And if the bad weather continues there will be a shortage of feed in the spring,” he continued.
“The cuts have added insult to injury for every farmer after the worst year imaginable,” and he added that the two TDs, who are both capable, confident and articulate, “have no backbone”.
He also called on Senator John Carty, the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on agriculture, fisheries and food, to oppose the cutbacks. “This was the county of the Land League. Michael Davitt would turn in his grave,” he added.
Cllr Tom Connolly said cutbacks in education would mean the loss of 18 teachers in Mayo VEC. He said it was disgraceful the way Mayo’s two government TDs were “speaking out of both sides of their mouth” and not representing the people who elected them. “The vulnerable are being hit again,” added Cllr Connolly.
Fianna Fáil Cllr Pat McHugh also attended the IFA rally and he too said the case for farming was stark and would have to be taken on board. He said the two TDs in question were there, they heard the complaints, and were more than capable of bringing the message back to the powers at central government level.
In relation to education Cllr McHugh, a secondary school principal, said they are much more dramatic than originally thought. “There is going to have to be radical changes in these cutbacks or we will have drastic changes in the education system,” he added.