The Dáil will debate a Fianna Fáil motion this week calling on the Government to reverse its cuts to the Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) and the Disadvantaged Areas Scheme (DAS) and to tackle rising diesel prices.
Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue says the motion criticises the lack of leadership from the government in protecting jobs in the farming and agri-food sectors.
“We need clear and decisive action from the Government to support the agriculture sector, which is the engine of the economy here in Donegal and across the North West. There are 300,000 jobs in the agri-food industry alone and it contributes €24 billion to the economy,” said Deputy McConalogue.
“I am concerned about the lack of leadership from the Government in addressing the serious issues facing farmers and food producers. Small farmers in Donegal have had a particularly difficult year and they are facing more difficulties after the Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney scaled back the AEOS and made changes to the minimum stocking density required under the DAS.
“In the Dáil this week, Fine Gael and Labour have an opportunity to show their commitment to farmers and food-producers. Fianna Fáil has tabled a motion calling on the Government to recognise that the crucial role that the agriculture sector plays in job creation and economic growth here in Donegal and across the country.
“The motion calls on the Government to stop scaling back payments that are essential to small farmers in Donegal. The Agriculture Minister must expand the new AEOS to 8,000 places and restore the original maximum payment of €5,000. It also calls on the Minister Coveney to reverse changes he introduced to the minimum stocking density ratio under the DAS. We are also urging the Government to take decisive action to tackle rising diesel prices and to introduce an effective user rebate scheme that will alleviate the rising financial pressure on farmers, agriculture contractors and farmers.
“I am urging the Government deputies across Donegal to show their commitment to local farmers by supporting this motion in the Dáil this week,” said Deputy McConalogue.