Wednesday 17 January 2018

'To invest we need to be able to borrow'

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

FOR dairy farmer Andrew McHugh it took only a few moments to decide to vote 'yes'.

The farmer, who milks 150 cows at their home outside of Longford town, said a "stable Euro" was essential as the entire agriculture business was very dependent on exports.

"We need stability in the prices," Mr McHugh said. "I believe strongly that if we don't have a Yes vote it will affect banking and interest rates, it is vital for investment into the future and the ability to borrow money even more so.

"To invest in your farm you need to borrow for stock and machinery. Anyone who wants to expand needs to be able to borrow to invest." He said if the banks were not able to lend or if the interest rates were exorbitantly high then that had a knock-on effect on the industry.

"In the 1980s when I started out, the interest rates were 15pc to 20pc and it was nearly impossible to run a business and expand at that stage," the father of three children, aged from 10 to 14 years, said.

Mr McHugh said a No outcome to the referendum would have made it more likely that an era of high interest rates would return.

"The CAP negotiations and the European budget negotiations -- all of those are coming up. I think it is vital we remain in a position where we are held credibly and we have a voice at the table where we are more likely to be listened to," he said. "We have the EU presidency next year and that is more likely when the cap budget would be framed.

Mr McHugh said it did not take him long to decide to vote Yes, pointing to the economic crisis in Argentina when the currency was devalued.

"Argentina devalued their currency and their agriculture industry -- both beef and dairy -- were decimated as a result," he said.

Our picture by Lorraine Teevan shows Mr McHugh and his daughter Emma at their farm in Newtownforbes, Co Longford.

Irish Independent Supplement

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News