Deputy Colreavy today met a delegation from the Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland who raised the impact of high fuel costs of the agricultural industry.
Speaking in the Dáil last night Deputy Colreavy said:
“Agriculture is doing well, but the agri-food sector is under a significant threat from rising fuel costs. Fuel costs for farmers have doubled in the last three years; however, profits for farmers have not increased to match this price. The profit margins of farmers are being eroded and this is putting serious financial pressure on them and on their families.
“The cost that agricultural contractors now face when trying to carry out their work on farms is enormous. Contractors face massive costs during the summer and harvest periods. These massive costs are then in turn off-loaded on the farmer.
“In the last two years agricultural diesel has gone up by a massive 54%, while road diesel has increased by almost 35%. At a time when government call for industrial and commercial competitiveness, Ireland’s competitiveness in agriculture is being damaged due to expensive road haulage and the distance we are from our markets.
“I am calling on the government to substantially reduce fuel duties to stop the spiralling prices of petrol and diesel. The high price of fuel is causing severe hardships on consumers, with government taxes accounting for more than 57 per cent of the cost of fuel according to the Irish petrol retail association. It is within the remit of government to address the considerable extra hardship placed on rural dwellers by these taxes. Motoring is a necessity in rural Ireland, we don’t have buses passing our doors every 15 minutes or a luas or taxi ranks that we can go to so as to get our kids to school or travel to work or the shop or visit a doctor. The Government should also seriously consider the law of diminishing returns – energy and transport costs are seriously damaging our local and national competitiveness.”