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Michael on Agriculture


farming-imgFor generations the family farm has been the backbone of our economy. Today, in most of our rural communities, less than 10% of our families are totally dependent on agriculture. I will fight for fair treatment for farm families. Rules and Regulations are crippling rural Ireland and I will continue to oppose the ever-increasing sets of laws which make life more difficult. The EU and successive Irish governments have failed to address our problems. Rules on slurry spreading, environmental designation, Turf-cutting, One-off houses, Fencing and land improvements all have a disproportionate impact on the small farmer.

EU regulation adds to escalating costs and poses a serious threat to the viability of family farms. Cattle prices in Ireland are currently €250 per animal below those in the UK. We need to re-open the Live Export market and create farmer-owned co-ops to break the monopoly of the Beef Barons. Equally, sheep farmers need to be listened to as proposals at the moment will wipe out the Hill farmer. In spite of the fact that our farmers are not being properly rewarded for producing an excellent product our consumers are still paying ‘top-dollar’ for their meat.

We must strive to become self-sufficient by growing our own food as far as possible. Installation aid should be reintroduced for all young farmers as they take over the family farm. A tiered farm support system is required to target proportionately higher payments towards small farms. The situation where the bulk of CAP payments are paid to the wealthy cannot be allowed to persist.

Dairying is the buzz-word of the moment but I would urge caution. Farmers must examine carefully if their farm can remain sustainable if there is heavy borrowing or if the market suddenly changes. Historically, it has been shown that when there is a substantial increase in the production of a raw material, there is likely to be a fall in unit prices.

About Michael

A message from Michael Fitzmaurice:


I am proud to say that my roots go deep into the soil of Ireland. I was born into a small farm in the parish of Glinsk / Creggs on the Roscommon / Galway border. I work this land and am fully acquainted with the difficulties and obstacles faced by small farmers everywhere.

I am married to Maria and we have three young children. My greatest Hope is that my children and yours will be Free to build decent lives for themselves here in the West of Ireland, should they choose to do so. I am committed to doing everything in my power to make this “Hope” a reality.

I am probably best known as Chairperson of the “Turf Cutters and Contractors Association”(TCCA). As part of the TCCA, I along local communities everywhere have been fighting to retain the Right of the Irish People to “Cut their Own Turf, for their Own Use, in their own Bogs”.

I run an Agricultural and Turf Contracting business, which provides local employment on a seasonal and full-time basis. Small and medium enterprise provides the best hope of future prosperity in the countryside and in our rural towns.

Our rural towns and villages have been neglected by successive governments. This neglect is evident in the removal of services, the loss of jobs and the lack of infrastructural investment in the surrounding countryside. Every job that is lost, is another son or daughter lost to the scourge of emigration, another family destroyed! A prosperous countryside needs the services of thriving towns. Thriving towns can only exist in a thriving countryside. We need each other. We must work together to build a prosperous future. Nobody else will do it for us. The politics of Division must end! Together, we are greater than the sum of our constituent parts.

Ireland cannot succeed if we continue the “give away” of our natural resources. The “give away” of our Farmland, our Bogland, our Fishery Waters, our Inland Water, our Semi-State companies, our Oil, our Gas, … but most of all, of our Children, must stop !

Working around Ireland to supplement the income of my small farm and business, I gained experience working on Water and Sewage schemes. This experience proved invaluable when our Local Community developed the “Kilcolumb-Keelogues” group water scheme. Working together, our community has provided itself with a piece of top class infrastructure capable of serving current and future generations.

Michael Fitzmaurice after being elected Councillor in the 2014 Local Elections

Michael Fitzmaurice after being elected Councillor in the 2014 Local Elections

One of the most important resources in any Community is the Local National School. Due to ever increasing austerity, these schools are facing unprecedented challenges. We must invest in our Children’s future. This is why I am a member of the Board Of Management of our Local National School. When we saw the threat that Government cut backs posed to our school, we “took the Bull by the horns” and as a result, a single Pedigree Limousin Bull combined with the generosity and support of the Irish People have secured our school financially for the moment. However, the twin threats of ongoing austerity and rural decline remain.

All my life, I have been involved in the GAA. I have the utmost admiration for the Trojan work carried out by people who give of their time voluntarily to keep the Tradition of our Gaelic Games alive. I also support Soccer, Rugby and all sporting activity because it develops our young people physically, socially, mentally and character wise.

We need sustainable and balanced economic development. We need the correct balance between East and West, between Urban and Rural, between Private and Public. We need to put aside past differences and come together in communities working for our mutual benefit, laying new foundations for future generations.

I ask you to let me serve you as your TD. To do so, I need your Number One Vote. Together, We Can make a difference, Together We Can Succeed.

Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.

Michael Fitzmaurice.