Reversing the government decision to dismantle the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) is more vital for Clare than almost every other county in the country, according to IFA presidential candidate, John Bryan.
John Bryan, who visited a large number of farms in the county last week, said with over 3,000 farmers in the county participating in REPS the impact of closing the scheme on the welfare of farm families and rural areas will be horrendous.
Announcing that reversing the savage REPS cutbacks will be his top priority if elected IFA President, John Bryan said payments under the scheme account for a high proportion of farm income on a large number of Clare farms.
“Without REPS, many of these farm families will be forced onto the Farm Assist Scheme. Also up to 1,000 people involved in providing REPS-related services in the county will lose their jobs. The decision makes no economic sense,” said John Bryan.
He said that ensuring a vibrant live export trade for cattle, including an expansion of store cattle exports to the UK, will be another key policy objective during his presidential term.
He condemned the collusion between Irish-owned meat factories in the UK and the major retailers in refusing to handle animals exported live from Ireland.
“Live exports are crucial in protecting incomes of cattle farmers and restrictive practices by meat factories must not be tolerated by our national and EU authorities,” said John Bryan.