'For just €12million they can save the jobs of 3,900 farmers'
My week: Kenneth O'Brien, Glenamaddy, Co Galway - farmer and 'Forgotten Farmers' campaigner
Published 28/10/2015 | 02:30
It has been a busy week for Kenneth O'Brien what with dosing and paring the sheep and weighing and sorting out the cattle on his 32ha farm near Glenamaddy in Co Galway.
"Seriously back breaking" is how he describes it and he will have another few serious weeks of work with his livestock until the winter sets in.
"I'm generally making room on the farm at the moment," he explains.
Kenneth is founder of the Forgotten Farmers movement, which has been calling for action with ICSA support, and at 33 years of age he reckons he has just about a year left in farming unless Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, addresses the 'reference year' anomalies which deprive the 3,900 Forgotten Farmers of a viable EU farm payment.
A cohort of farmers commenced their farming activity too late to benefit from the 2000-2002 reference period but are now considered to be too long farming to get an opportunity under the new Basic Payment Scheme.
Two of his neighbours, also in their 30s, have just got out of farming and have left the land for jobs in the nearby towns.
Many more will follow, according to Kenneth, unless this is addressed by the powers at Agriculture House with some urgency.
"After all they said they would do it two years ago," he says.