Deputy Peter Burke, TD for Longford and Westmeath, this week met with Longford and Westmeath officers of the IFA in Dublin and was briefed on the IFA budget proposals. A member of the Finance and PAC Oireachtas Committees, Burke said that the availability of credit to farmers who are experiencing market and weather volatility is hugely important.

Speaking in The Downs yesterday evening, Burke stated that the Government must do more to support farmers:

“Farm families across the country are under serious income pressure after a year of low product and extremely poor weather conditions. Meeting with IFA members across both counties makes it clear that more needs to be done to ensure that farmers and their families overcome this tough period. The IFA plan discussed in Dublin today includes an aid package for tillage farmers affected by crop losses, a fodder scheme for farmers who don’t have enough silage saved, prompt payments and flexibility on slurry spreading which are all common sense proposals.

“When I was appointed to the Finance Committee, one of my main priorities was to ensure the availability of credit to farmers during volatile times, similar to what we are experiencing at present in relation to milk quotas and tillage.  I believe there needs to be more competition within the banking sector and banks need to be far more flexible in relation to repayments, overdrafts and credit availability. I continue to work on this issue on the Finance Committee and will be asking the banks exactly what they are doing to help farmers at present when they appear before us.

“The Government needs to do everything it can to raise farm incomes and support farmers in these difficult times and I continue to liaise with Longford farmers, Westmeath farmers, the IFA, Minister Creed and his department”.