28 Sept 2022

ICMSA suspect Govt policy is ‘managed decline’ of farming

ICMSA suspect Govt policy is ‘managed decline’ of  farming

ICMSA president Pat McCormack

The President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack, said that nobody could be unaware of the widespread perception in rural areas that the Government has taken a decision to ‘wind down’ Ireland’s commercial farming sector and, within that, specifically target commercial family dairy farms.

Mr McCormack was speaking after attending Virginia Show and said that he was struck by the unanimous opinion of all he spoke to there that – regardless of public announcement - a policy of ‘managed decline’ has been decided upon and that whenever the Government is faced with a choice that either supports commercial farming or disadvantages it, then they will unfailingly choose to the latter.

Mr McCormack said that while ICMSA did not necessarily subscribe to that belief, it was undeniable that even the most cursory glance at the Government’s record on every single issue pertaining to farming showed a bias against commercial farming and specifically against commercial family dairy farms.

“Obviously the Government is going to strenuously deny that they are anti-farming. But they would want to start backing that up with action and funding. Because the totally unanimous belief out there amongst our members is that on every single occasion that this Government has been faced with an ‘either/or’ choice between helping farmers or hindering them, then they have hindered them every single time.

A really obvious example of this is the difference between the way the Government looks at, for instance, data centres and the way it looks at our dairy sector.

They seem to contort themselves looking for ways to accommodate vast energy-consuming foreign-owned data centres that employ less people than a nearby Co-op store. Meanwhile, there’s a steady flow of regulations and restrictions and costs all aimed at farmers and coming from every direction that all combine to make it harder day-by-day to produce the food that is the real economic and indigenous infrastructure of these local communities”, said Mr McCormack.

The ICMSA President said that he was amazed that more rural TDs were not aware of the degree to which their rural constituencies had now identified this double standard.

“It’s not our place to point out the obvious to rural TDs, but nobody can say they weren’t told. In fairness to some representatives from all parties, we are aware of individual politicians who admit their confusion over official policy.

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