Mayo Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Sinn Féin Condemns Farm Assist Cuts - Conway-Walsh

Published: 27 March, 2013

Speaking ahead of this year's Sinn Féin Árd Fheis in Castlebar on 12th and 13th April Sinn Féin Cllr. Conway-Walsh said: "This cut, introduced in the Budget and effective from 3rd April will further devastate the lowest income farmers in Mayo and throughout Rural Ireland. This underhand cut is compounded by the changes in assessment brought in last year which means that families will have now lost between 20 and 50% of their Farm Assist payment. From last year the disregard for self-employment including farming income was changed from 85% to 100% resulting in further losses." "The whole purpose of farm assist is to give low income farm families enough to survive so it makes no sense whatsoever to cut that minimum income. Pushing these families into poverty while heaping taxes such as the family home tax and septic tank charges on them is making it impossible for them to make ends meet." "You only have to walk through any small town in Mayo to see how these cuts to Farm Assist and additional cuts in disadvantaged area payments and the abolishment of the Suckler Cow Scheme and REPS are impacting on the whole rural economy. People have nothing left to spend in local shops. Jobs are being lost and businesses are closing down. When is the penny going to drop - if you take every cent out of peoples' pockets the domestic economy has no way of recovering and we have no way of getting out of this recession." "At the upcoming Ard Fheis, Sinn Féin will clearly set out the alternative to these cuts and discuss how rural communities and economies can be rejuvenated to ensure sustainability. Martin Ferris TD, Martina Anderson MEP and Michelle O'Neill, Minister for Agriculture in the North with join with myself and Cllr. Gerry Murray to meet farmers from Mayo and the wider Western Region to address farming issues including CAP reform and fairer distribution of the Single Farm Payment." ENDS *Caption photo 1: Pictured on a recent visit to Brussels: *Left to right - Martin Ferris TD, Seán Oliver (SF), Pat McCarthy (UFA), Martina Anderson MEP, Councillor Rose Conway Walsh, Bertie Wall (President UFA), Michael Clarke (NIAPA) and Councillor Gerry Murray.***