It is regrettable that Minister Coveney has once again turned down proposals to sort out increased payments to the ‘forgotten farmer’. I set up a meeting with department staff recently and we got the figures that 3,000 of these forgotten farmers needed help, which would bring the total numbers of young farmers under 40 to approx 10%. It is vital that we do this as Agriculture will suffer if we do not keep young farmers coming in. Only 10 million Euro would have given the top up payments to these farmers before 2008 and I am contacting Minister Coveney again to re consider. I had, along with other deputies, proposed a motion to that effect at the Dail Agriculture Committee, and chairman Andrew Doyle TD sent proposals to the Minister. If the Agriculture Committee recommends something to the Minister with cross party support, the Minister should put it into motion. These forgotten farmers need to be helped immediately and farming organisations and politicians together need to keep pressure on the Minister for the viability of Irish agriculture into the future.
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