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Tuesday 20 November 2018

'Only good thing for us in Budget is €1bn on mental health' - Farmer says 'we are in despair'

 

Cold comfort: Stuart Wilson says the only good news is the $1bn being ploughed into mental health
Cold comfort: Stuart Wilson says the only good news is the $1bn being ploughed into mental health
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

Donegal farmer Stuart Wilson had strong words for Government on the back of the Budget.

He said the €1bn mental health investment "is a good thing because it will help farmers neglected by this Government".

Mr Wilson, from Horn Head, Co Donegal, faces the threat of Brexit across the Border and said farming had become "almost impossible" due to the effects of poor weather, the price inflation for feed, and a drop in lamb prices.

The father of three had hoped the Government would provide a stimulus package to boost the industry: "But there's nothing there for me.

"Farmers needed the Government to put money aside for a rainy day for farmers for years like this, for when there's a severe shortage of fodder and severe weather like this year but they didn't do it in the Budget.

"I'm glad there has been the €1bn mental health investment though because a lot of farmers will avail of that support. So many farmers are in despair."

Mr Wilson said he had "no faith" in the hardship fund - similar schemes had existed and had been "impossible" to access. "I don't feel the suckler fund is good enough either," he said. "It's just not enough investment."

He said it was imperative Donegal had "proper political representation" for farmers: "We just don't seem to have that. This Budget shines a light on that fact.

"It's rained up here non-stop for three days and it's flooding in some parts but who's coming to assist us? No one."

Irish Independent

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