Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says changes to the Farm Assist scheme, which he has been campaigning for, are coming into effect from mid-March.

Deputy McConalogue has been extremely vocal over the past number of years in calling for the 2012 and 2013 cuts to the Farm Assist scheme reversed.

More than 1,500 Donegal farmers had seen a huge cut in their income over the last four years, but these cuts will be reversed from March 8th and farmers should see an increase in their Farm Assist payment from March 15th.

“The cuts to the scheme have had a huge impact on the most vulnerable farmers in our county and many farmers were forced to decide whether it was worth their while continuing to farm”, said Deputy McConalogue.

“Donegal has the second highest number of farmers dependent on the Farm Assist payment in the country, and some cases this payment was the difference in them keeping their farms in business or going to the wall. I have spoken to some local farmers who experienced the full impact of the changes and were genuinely fearful about their future if the scheme was not reinstated to pre-2012 levels.

“As one of the negotiators for the Confidence & Supply Agreement I pushed hard for a commitment to “secure the future of family farms” and the restoration of the Farm Assist payment was a key priority for me.

“I welcome the fact that this review was carried out and that the Minister has reversed these devastating cuts.  The Minister confirmed to me in the Dáil last week that all existing farm assist recipients will have their payments adjusted to take accounts of the changes”, concluded Deputy McConalogue.