ICMSA president, John Comer, has dismissed the level of attention and focus that all parties have given to the problems currently confronting both the farming community and the wider rural sector.
Mr Comer said that there was no sign whatsoever that any candidates, including those from the main parties, even understood the problems much less had thought about solutions.
He said there are two massive problems affecting everyone that lives in rural Ireland and they are to a degree interlinked: firstly, there is the price crisis that is destroying income in every single sector of agriculture. As an example, he cited the latest figures that now indicate an €800m fall in dairy farmer income in the two years since 2014. Mr Comer said the actual impact of this income loss on rural areas based on verifiable data is estimated to be €1.35bn and yet we struggle to hear even a word on this crisis while we have endless discussions about the exact size of the fiscal space available for tax cuts that will only be slightly greater than the amount we’ve lost as a result of a falling milk price.