In the Programme for Government which I helped to negotiate, it is clearly stated that the issue of ‘The Forgotten Farmer’ would be addressed and now is the time to do that before the new year and new payment system begins. I have been to Europe with the Forgotten Farmers group and there is absolutely no objection in Europe to these farmers being included in the CAP system. This week I will be writing to the Minister for Agriculture and to the agriculture spokespersons in all the political parties to seek support to move this forward as quickly as possible.
I am also calling on all the farming organisations to come out openly and back the Forgotten Farmer situation. There are figures being bandied about at the moment on this issue which are inaccurate. The number of farmers affected in this situation is far lower than what the Department is saying. This issue needs to be addressed immediately and in place in time for the start of 2017 and the Minister needs to work on this urgently. I will be keeping the public updated on the progress of this situation.