Pay the 'Forgotten Farmers' or risk losing them forever - TD
The ball is now in the Agriculture Minister's court to pay 'forgotten farmers' what they're owed and prevent young farmers from leaving farming, Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has claimed.
In light of an EU Directive issued in January, Mr Fitzmaurice said that Minister Michael Creed can make a linear cut to pay the 'forgotten farmers' as far back as 2010 but still hasn't done so and that this is causing some farmers to leave the industry.
"The EU have given the green light. Now it's in Minister Creed's court to put funding in place for the forgotten farmers. There's no excuse at this stage.
"In a time where we're struggling to get new entrants in to farming, these farmers need to be supported, but many of them have already left," he said.
Galway suckler farmer and founder of the Forgotten Farmers group Kenneth O'Brien is calling for equality in how payments to farmers are issued as he said the current five-year rule has prevented him from gaining vital young farmer supports.
"We feel we're being discriminated against because the only thing that is against us is the five-year rule," he said.
An organic suckler farmer who began farming in 2011 has an appeal in with the Department as he was successful in his application for young farmer payments but was dismayed to be to be told last year he now doesn't qualify.
The Department pointed out the regulation allows a linear cut where it is required to fund the two mandatory categories of young farmer and new entrant to farming. However, it had sufficient funding for the 2018 National Reserve.