Brexit loan package for farmers still not released a year after the announcement of the scheme, says Scanlon.

‘Minister Creed appears to be completely oblivious of the difficulties facing small family farmers.’

Sligo News File

Fianna Fail spokesman on business Eamon Scanlon has said that the government still hasn’t rolled out the Brexit loan scheme for farmers announced in the budget a year ago.

Fianna Fail spokesman on business Eamon Scanlon,TD

Speaking of the pressure being faced by small family farmers, the Sligo-Leitrim TD said: “Costs have risen, sterling price fluctuations have increased uncertainty, we have had fodder shortages and there are real fears about what the winter ahead could hold.

“All of these issues are further complicated by Brexit, which is now less than six months away.”

More measures are needed to support family farms in the face of sustained price volatility and the impending impact of Brexit,” he said.

The suckler cow scheme announced in the Budget does not go as far as we would like, it is a starting point. “I am hopeful that this payment can be increased in the coming months.

“The additional €23m in ANC funding will also provide a welcome relief to farmers in the North West, but we need to ensure the full restoration of the fund in the next budget.

“I am, however, concerned about the Minister’s handling of Brexit preparations – or lack thereof. In Budget 2018 he announced a €25m Brexit loan scheme for farmers. We’re still waiting for that scheme to open. Minister Creed appears to be completely oblivious to the difficulties facing small family farmers in the west of Ireland. The reality is that without the adequate supports, they will not survive.”

Adding that he wants to see the Minister take control of the situation and deliver the supports promised more than 12 months ago, he warned “any further delays could prove disastrous for our farming communities.”