Kenny in the firing line as IFA Budget campaign targets TDs
Published 19/12/2012 | 06:00
The Farm Assist cuts in the Budget have been strongly criticised by both the IFA and opposition parties.
IFA president John Bryan said the decision to change the qualifying criteria for Farm Assist would hit the most vulnerable low-income farmers.
Mr Bryan said the new guidelines for Farm Assist could cost a married farmer with two children close to €2,500 a year.
"In many cases, these farmers will also take the hit on other farm schemes, which underlines the disproportionate and unfair nature of what the minister has done," he said.
The cuts to Farm Assist, which are estimated to deliver savings of €4m, have also been slammed by Sinn Fein.
Sinn Fein's agriculture spokesman, Martin Ferris, said the changes to the scheme would cost the most vulnerable farm families up to €40 per week.
"There are around 11,000 farmers on the scheme and around 70pc of them are in western counties where low-income farm households also avail of the threatened Disadvantaged Area Scheme which likewise contributes a small but essential element to family farm incomes," Deputy Ferris said.
"It is therefore vital that the scheme is maintained as it is as the proposed cuts would consign people in an already difficult situation to one that will be much worse."