Deputy Jackie Cahill
Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary, Jackie Cahill has said that while the Government decision to establish an agri-business loan scheme is welcome, its rollout since Budget 2017 has been “lethargic at best”.
Deputy Cahill was commenting following the announcement by Minister Creed that €150 million will be made available to farmers.
“Low cost credit is something that Fianna Fáil has been consistently supportive of. Farmers must have sustainable access to cash-flow to ensure the viability of their farm businesses.
“The loans will be available to all livestock farmers, tillage farmers, horticulture producers (including mushroom growers) and others involved in primary agricultural production.
“In light of the challenges that the Mushroom Industry is facing, this is a welcome support.
“While FF supports a new loan scheme, I am concerned that it took over three months for its details to be provided. This scheme was initially flagged in Budget 2017 last October. That’s three months where farmers were forced to scrimp and save to keep their farms going,” he said.
“This scheme can be made better by providing the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) with a banking licence, and letting it provide loan directly to farmers, and other SMEs, instead of going through pillar banks such as AIB and Bank of Ireland.
“Additionally, the Minister should look at allowing farmers refinance their existing loans using this scheme to reduce the overall costs farmers have to pay.
“I would urge farmers across Tipperary to consider applying for a loan. It will be cheaper than any credit currently available on the market, and is a step in the right direction,” concluded Deputy Cahill.