Mar 022016
 

The ICMSA President, John Comer, said that while no individual or party would be expected to “charge into” a governing arrangement, that farmers and our vital agri-food sector would expect all responsible politicians to recognise the overwhelming need for stability and some degree of realistic commercial orientation in any new Government.  Mr. Comer said it was obvious to any interested observer that the recovery – such as it is – had been decidedly two-speed with much of country lagging Dublin and the cities and that rural dwellers had also grown to greatly resent what ICMSA had repeatedly identified as the ‘withdrawal  of the state from rural Ireland’  where services like post, policing, veterinary, schooling, departmental  offices, etc,  had all but disappeared from swathes of the country within one decade.  But it was the crisis in farm income that the ICMSA President identified as the issue causing most concern and disenchantment within the farming communities up and down the state:  “I’ve no doubt that farmers – particularly dairy farmers – found some way of expressing their concern at the ongoing collapse of milk prices. ICMSA has estimated that falling milk price has taken €800million out of farmer income in the two years from 2016, rising to €1.35 billion as that’s multiplied into the wider rural economy.  This was an absolutely huge factor in rural constituencies, particularly in Munster and South Leinster and ICMSA repeatedly drew attention to the fact it was always going to ‘feed in’ to the Election.  Where do we go from here? We have to have a Government that understands that our State exists by virtue of our dynamic export sectors – like farming and agri-business – and we cannot  indulge in fantasies that constantly harp on about redistributing money without the slightest idea of how that money is generated.  In the immediate short-term, there’s an absolutely key Farm Council meeting scheduled for March 14 at which it’s likely that concrete measures to support EU dairy farmers will be on the table and I cannot stress enough how important it is that (A) Ireland is there with a coherent analysis of what’s wrong and how it should be remedied and (B) that we do not allow any period of uncertainty to damage our absolutely critical farming and food sectors”, said Mr Comer.

Ends        2 March 2016

John Comer, 087-2057846

President ICMSA.

Or

Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA Press Office