REPS Closure a Savage Blow to Leitrim

The government decision to dismantle the Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) will have a greater impact on farmers and rural areas in Leitrim than any other county, according to IFA presidential candidate, John Bryan.

“Leitrim has the highest level of REPS participation in the country with over 95% of all farmers in the county involved in the scheme. The impact of closing the scheme on the welfare of the 3,300 Leitrim farmers involved in REPS and on the rural hinterland will be horrendous.

“Without REPS, many of these farm families will be forced onto the Farm Assist Scheme. Also over 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.

The Kilkenny drystock farmer, who visited a large number of farms in Leitrim last week, said he is committed to a new and smarter style of leadership in order to reverse the savage cutbacks and to bring the agri-food sector centre stage in economic recovery.

“Ensuring that farmers are treated as equal partners with government, processors and retailers must dominate the IFA agenda over the coming years. The government has completely reneged on the last two partnership deals and the supermarkets are second only to the banks in the way they have ripped off the Irish economy. Partnership cannot be a one-way street,” he said.

John Bryan said his track record in delivering real benefits for farmers demonstrated his leadership and negotiating skills. He pointed to his central role in securing the EU ban on Brazilian beef imports, in negotiating the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme and in protecting live cattle exports.

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