Farm groups slam threat of SFP safety penalties
Published 30/08/2011 | 05:00
Farm organisations have reacted angrily to suggestions that single farm payment penalties could be applied for breaches of health and safety rules on farms.
Speaking at a recent Agricultural Occupational Health and Safety conference, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said safety issues needed to be part of the CAP debate and his Department had the capacity to potentially attach safety conditions to farm supports.
Seventeen people have lost their lives in farm accidents already this year, including fatal incidents involving machinery and livestock. It is believed that, if Minister Coveney's proposal were included in farm payment conditions, Ireland would become the first country in Europe to make agricultural support payments dependent on farm safety rules.
However, the suggestion has been dismissed by the ICSA as a draconian and unnecessary attempt to help solve the problem.
ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin said he unequivocally rejected the idea that penalties on single farm payments was the best way to increase farm safety compliance.
"It's a matter of education and not legislation when it comes to farm safety," he insisted. "You cannot legislate for accidents but what can be done, is all parties working together so that the farm is a safe place to be. Cutting payments to farmers is simply not the answer.
"Stripping farmers of their single payment would cause not only anger but great anxiety," he insisted.