Fine Gael Limerick TD, Deputy Dan Neville, said Eurostat farm income figures released on Friday shows that the average fall in EU farm incomes is one third of the income drop endured by Irish farmers in 2009.
“The massive slump in EU farm incomes last year is confirmed in today’s Eurostat figures and it is clear that Irish farmers are suffering more than most. While EU farm incomes fell last year by an average of 11.6%, Irish farm incomes fell by 30%. In fact Ireland’s farm income decline is the third worst in today’s survey, only behind Hungary and Luxembourg.
“Irish farmers are being squeezed out of existence by low prices, high costs and Government cuts. Promises from Government to address the imbalance of power between retailers and food suppliers have so far come to nothing. Fine Gael has produced legislation to outlaw unfair trading practices but the Government has failed to adopt it. Measures to improve competitiveness by cutting business input costs are not on the Government’s agenda. By contrast, Fine Gael has published a Bill to cut Government costs by 5%.
“The Fianna Fáil Government seems to be happy for the time to come when we’ll have no home-produced food. Fine Gael sees our food producers as central to economic recovery and is determined to support them. This also needs a real focus on CAP post-2013 and Fine Gael is currently holding a series of public meetings around the country on this crucial issue.”