It is reported today that the self-employed and farmers are set to get a new 150 Euro tax credit in the forthcoming budget. While any additional assistance to farmers and others is welcome it is a very miniscule gesture for the sector especially when it comes to small farmers. We have seen over the past week that the EU has agreed a 500 million euro package to compensate farmers for low milk prices but that package, while welcome, is not a lot when it is divided among the 27 member countries. The Government need to support the small family farm in a realistic way to ensure that they are viable into the future. More investment in rural infrastructure the retention of post offices, the upgrading of credit unions so they can provide a banking service, investment in broadband in rural areas as well as financial help is the way forward to sustain rural Ireland. I will be publishing a major document on rural Ireland in the coming months and all these ideas and many more will be included. Rural communities must be supported in a realistic way and those who live outside The Pale deserve to share in any economic recovery as well.
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