Deputy Michael Colreavy, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Agriculture, Marine and Food, and Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh have strongly condemned the decision by Minister Simon Coveney to scrap the Agri Environmental Options Scheme (AEOS) for 2012.
Deputy Colreavy stated “This is a direct attack on low income farmers. The role of the Minister for Agriculture is to ensure that as many farmers as possible are able to farm the land. This move by Minister Coveney makes the lives of farmers trying to make a viable income from farming even more arduous.
Only last month when I questioned the Minister on the opening of AEOS for 2012 he replied that he wanted to emphasise his ‘commitment to the agri-environment schemes which put environmentally-friendly farming to the forefront and which recognise the vital role farmers play in delivering public goods for the benefit of all society.’ Clearly Minister Coveney has abandoned low income farmers in the slash and burn agenda of the Fine Gael/Labour Government.”
Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh slammed the move as “a retrograde step by the Minister. Farmers, especially those in the west of Ireland, depend on AEOS as a viable source of income. Minister Coveney already cut the Disadvantaged Area Scheme in December’s budget. This fresh attack will push more and more farmers into financial hardship. It is clear that the scrapping of AEOS is part of the austerity agenda of this government. It is imperative for farmers, especially those who have been victims of these cuts, to vote against the upcoming Austerity Treaty. Rural Ireland must unite in an effort to fight against this savage austerity.”