Smith wants to fight for Donegal farmers in Europe

Fianna Fáil candidate for Midlands-North-West Brendan Smith TD says he will stand up for Donegal farmers in Europe and ensure that their concerns are heard and addressed.  He was speaking ahead of an IFA meeting in Donegal town this evening, where he will be putting forward his plan for Europe.

Deputy Smith explained, “Over the past number of years farmers in Donegal, and right across the Midlands North West region have seen their incomes reduced, their morale wain and their workloads increase.  The beef crisis has pushed many farmers to the edge and the lack of understanding of the seriousness of the situation at government and European level is shocking.

“Mairead McGuinness enjoys a media profile as the farmers’ friend, but it is her party which has stood idly by and refused to allocate funding for struggling farm families in Donegal who are under immense financial pressure.  It was also this Fine Gael government which signed off at EU Council level on the Mercosur beef deal, which will allow 70,000 extra tonnes of South American Mercosur beef into the EU.  This is itself has the potential to decimate the sector here.

“Now Fine Gael has launched a last ditch attempt to win back the farmers it has abandoned over the past five years with the announcement last week of a €50m compensation fund from the European Commission for Irish beef farmers.  While I welcome any package which will ease the significant burden on farmers, I want to see a concrete timeline set out for the delivery of this fund.  The application process must be easily accessible and user friendly.

“I want to do more than just talk about the issues affecting farmers in Donegal and across the Midlands North West.  I will work with farmers at home and in Europe to secure a fair CAP deal, with a €60,000 limit on direct payments, but I will also be pushing for better supports to encourage younger farmers to remain in the sector so that it can continue to survive and thrive”, concluded Deputy Smith.